William Benjamin "Ben" Scott
Reno - William Benjamin "Ben" Scott "flew west" on June 21, 2021, after a prolonged battle with congestive heart failure. Ben had 84 years of a life filled with family, friends, and FLYING. His quick wit, ready smile, sharp mind, devotion to family, love of aviation, and steady friendship will be sorely missed.
Ben graduated from Flintridge Preparatory Academy and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University. Years later, it was determined that his coursework at Cornell was sufficient to award him a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from Cornell, he continued his education at the University of California - Berkley, where he received his Master's in Business Administration.
While on a visit home to Reno, Ben noticed a go-cart buzzing around the neighborhood, and remarked to his sister Peggy that he would like to take a ride in it. Peggy's husband Harry mentioned that there was a beautiful young redhead at the same address as the go-cart, and Peggy set up the date. It turned into quite a go-cart ride! Ben, a GM dealer's son, and Sandy, a Chrysler dealer's daughter, met, courted, and eventually Ben proposed. Delighted with Ben's proposal, Sandy agreed. Later, friends would joke about it being a GM/Chrysler merger.
Ben was a model husband to Sandy, his wife of fifty-eight years. He would laughingly describe it as "the thirty happiest years of his life" but the truth was obvious to all who knew them. He was an excellent father to his four sons and in solidarity with Sandy, refused to admit that at some point they were hoping for a girl. He thought the boys turned out well, a surprise result he attributed almost exclusively to Sandy's efforts.
After ten years with IBM in San Jose, and two more in Reno, he left behind the blue suits and striped ties and joined the family business. Scott Motor Company, founded by Ben's father William Keith Scott, proudly served Northern Nevada for over eighty-four years. Ben was pleased to enter retirement after forty years in the car business and especially pleased to have his supplier in the rear-view mirror. His license plate, "XGMDLR", says it all.
Though a pilot since his college years, Ben's passion for aviation was truly rekindled in 1985 with the re-acquisition of the Stearman 4E Jr. Speedmail his father had purchased new in 1930. The black and yellow biplane was a frequent sight in the Nevada skies as it took him on adventures from coast to coast including flying the mail in celebrations of the 75th and 100th anniversaries of air mail service, the National Air Tour in 2003, and numerous air shows and fly-ins around the country. While his interest in antique aircraft resulted in the restoration of other aircraft, including a Howard DGA, Grumman Widgeon, and North American T-28D, his true love was always the Stearman which remains with the family to this day.
Ben was extremely engaged and active in his community. He served as President of his Kiwanis Club, the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association, the Reno-Sparks New Car Dealers Association, the Executive Association of Reno, and The Nevada White Hats. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Prospector's Club, the Greater Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and the Reno Air Race Association. He served as a Trustee of Yesterday's Flyers, and as a Trustee Emeritus of the Reno Air Racing Association. He was a lifetime member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (if you did not already know it, or could not tell from the foregoing, flying was a hobby/obsession). He was especially proud to be a member of the Quiet Birdmen. He was a supporter of Boys Club, a Leadership Member of the Boy Scouts of America, and was named an Honorary Lieutenant by the Washoe County Sheriff's Honorary Deputies Association.
Ben was preceded in death by his father, William Keith Scott and mother, Della Pitcher Scott. He is survived by his wife Sandy, his sister Peggy Brown (Harry), sons Keith (Melanie), Ken (Kim), Kelly and Casey, nieces Martha and Melissa, nephew Keith, and his grandchildren, Kallista, Kelsey (Jacob), Ben and Emily, each of whom were clearly his favorite.
A memorial and scattering of Ben's ashes from the Stearman will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dream Flights (www.dreamflights.org
, 1894 East William Street 4-451, Carson City, NV 89701), a non-profit dedicated to honoring military veterans with flights in vintage Boeing Stearman military trainers.
Published by The Reno Gazette Journal and Lyon County News Leader from Jun. 30 to Jul. 4, 2021.