Obituary: David Scott
April 20, 1950 – August 12, 2022
David Leslie Scott, 72, died on August 12, 2022 while hiking to Mica Lake in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness in Routt County, Colorado. He was with his wife of 23 years, Aleka Scott. David was an avid and experienced outdoorsman whose passions included hiking above timberline, alpine and backcountry skiing, mountain and road biking, walking dogs, and marveling at birds and nature. His goal in life was to live on the Western Slope of Colorado, and he was always happiest exploring its natural wonders.
David grew up in Aurora, Colorado with his parents, Virginia and Leslie, and his sister, Robin. What he remembered most about these formative years were the long summer trips his family would take in their “trailer-home” all across the United States. David’s love of travel was rooted in these family adventures.
David attended the Colorado School of Mines on a full ride scholarship, where he majored in Mining Engineering because he loved to “blow shit up”, both above and below ground. At Mines, he also acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of geology, which made hiking with him a treat, as he could explain seemingly every interesting rock formation.
At Mines, David joined the Sig Ep fraternity and found his first band of brothers, many of whom stayed lifelong friends. Their antics are the stuff of legend, and sadly, cannot be shared in a public obituary. During summers, he worked as a backcountry ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park where he marveled that he was being paid to backpack all summer long.
David began his professional life in 1973 in Paonia, Colorado at US Steel‘s Somerset Mine, where he was Mine Superintendent and Mine Engineer. After a stint at the US Geological Survey from 1975-1977, David moved to Steamboat Springs with his first wife, Anne, to work as Mine Manager at P&M’s Edna Mine in Oak Creek, and then at A.T. Massey’s Sun Coal Mine. David and Anne built a house on Deerfoot Avenue themselves, finishing the roof at night in the middle of a snowstorm, and settled into life in the early ‘Boat. This was the start of a love affair with Steamboat that would continue until the day David died.
In 1982, rather than accept a transfer to West Virginia with Massey, David went to work for TIC, The Industrial Company, as a “sales guy.” At TIC, David found a career, working his way to Vice President of Business Development by securing jobs for the construction of power plants, mines, and other industrial projects around the world. Over 31 years, he helped build TIC into a major international construction company with a tight-knit community of co-workers.
David and Anne had two children, Aaron (b. 1981) and Elizabeth (b. 1983). They were the driving force behind everything he did – his greatest joys were skiing, hiking and spending time with them. Although David and Anne divorced in 1989, they worked closely to raise their kids and show them that a family can love each other even as it evolves. When his children moved to the Portland, Oregon area with their mother to go to high school, David engineered a move to TIC’s Oregon office in 1997, so he could be with them.
It was in 1997 in Oregon that David met Aleka, the love of his life. They were married in 1999 and spent the next 16 years in what David dubbed “a commuter marriage.” Due to his work, he traveled back and forth between Steamboat and Lake Oswego, Oregon, where Aleka remained with her two children, Peter and Ivan Kitchen. A patient and supportive step-father, David imparted countless life lessons to his step-sons. David and Aleka shared a love of travel: they chartered sailboats in the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan and Gulf Islands, explored many places including Bhutan and the Italian Dolomites, and went on bike trips with friends (Club Ned), riding all over the world: Peru, Turkey, France, Croatia, Italy, Austria and Slovenia. David’s favorite trips, however, were the family trips they took to Hawaii, Spain, and Mexico.
David retired from TIC, by then Kiewit Corp., in 2014, although he wasn’t much good at retirement and eventually went to work as the Mining Business Development Director for Black & Veatch, a global engineering and construction company. In 2017, David and Aleka moved full-time to Steamboat and rebuilt the Big Blue House in Fairview into a truly spectacular (albeit grey) home with room for all their children, grandchildren, and friends. David hiked, biked, skied and walked on Emerald Mountain – his back yard – most days. His favorite thing was to sit on the west deck at sunset with a drink and marvel at the beauty of the view. “It’s not a great view, but it’s a fair view” he would say with that trademark twinkle in his eye, because indeed it is a great view.
David was an accomplished martial artist who studied karate (achieving a black belt), taekwondo, Pencak silat, kali, and Yuan-style Tai Chi Chuan. David studied tai chi chuan with Master Tung Kai Ying for over 30 years, practicing weekly in Steamboat, attending tai chi camps in California, and traveling to China and Hong Kong. The tai chi chuan community is worldwide, and David’s tai chi family includes many dear friends in France, Italy, Finland, and across the United States.
David’s great gift was his ability to make and keep friends. When David talked to you, he was intensely present with you; he made you feel like the most interesting and important person in his world. His quirky sense of humor, his engaging presence, and his proclivity to break out in song meant he lit up any room he entered and was always the life of the party. According to one friend, “If you were with David Scott, you knew you were going to have fun.”
No account of David would be complete without mentioning his love of dogs, which was a late found love. He and his beloved little black dog, Bellie, walked literally hundreds of off-leash miles all around Lake Oswego and Steamboat. Even after Bellie died, David was “always packing” – dog bags, that is. Always handy with a treat and a scratch, David was a magnet for dogs all over the West.
David was kind, generous, gentle in spirit, and immensely compassionate to all living things. He was a Buddhist and a member of the Steamboat Buddhist Community, yet another community brightened with his presence. He often said he felt truly fortunate to have such an amazing family, so many great friends, such a deep love with Aleka and to live in such a magical place.
David’s favorite role, however, was being PopPop to Elizabeth’s children, Olivia (4) and Henry (2). David could play or read stories with his grandchildren for hours. It was a job at which he will be sorely missed.
David died from a sudden, unexpected and massive cardiac event when he was hiking with Aleka on August 12, 2022. David was just half a mile from Mica Lake, above 11,000 feet, and taking pictures of the majestic beauty until minutes before his death. We, his family and friends, feel David was taken from us too early. David will live on in the hearts of so many. Go to the next life in peace, David. We love you with all our hearts.
There will be a Celebration on Life for David on October 8, 2022 at 4:30 pm at Olympian Hall.
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