Jim Scott, 90 Racquetball Enthusiast, Real Estate Broker

By Ray Huard: (619) 542-4597; ray.huard@uniontrib.com
Published: January 1, 2002

Jim Scott had a passion for racquetball before many people even knew there was such a sport.
Mr. Scott and his friends would saw the handles off wooden tennis rackets and play the game on outdoor handball courts at the old San Diego Athletic Club downtown. "We called it paddle/racket then," Mr. Scott said in a 1986 interview as he prepared for a national match in the 70-and-over age bracket. After he turned 70, Mr. Scott played 70 racquetball games against 70 opponents over a 10-day period for from $1 to $5 a point to raise money for the Kidney Foundation. He raised more than $1,500. "I'll never put my body through that again," Mr. Scott said several years later in recalling the matches, but racquetball remained a passion. "I feel absolutely great when I get through," Mr. Scott said. "Mentally it really helps you."
Mr. Scott, 90, died Sunday of a heart attack in his Serra Mesa home, said his daughter, Cathy Scott.
Born in Wisdom, Mo., on May 28, 1911, Mr. Scott taught school for five years in a one-room school in Wisdom. He attended Teacher's College in Liberty, Mo., for two years to get his teaching credentials and moved to San Diego in 1939.
One of his first jobs in San Diego was delivering milk door-to- door for Golden Arrow Dairy in a time when the milkman was part of daily life in America. While working for the dairy, he invented the Zip Whip in the late 1940s -- a device for whipping cream. It's still featured in collectors' books, Cathy Scott said.
Mr. Scott switched from delivering milk to selling insurance and later became a real estate broker, which he continued well into his 80s, his daughter said. "That's what racquetball will do for you," she said. Mr. Scott began playing racquetball in the 1950s and was considered a top player for years. He won tournament after tournament into his 70s. During the 1980s, he won gold, silver and bronze medals in both singles and doubles competition for those 70 and older in the Senior Olympics.
Many a younger player was humbled by Mr. Scott on the racquetball court, said his son-in-law, Bob Mendoza.
"They'd get all mad because they were beaten by a 75- or 80-year- old man," Mendoza said.
Although racquetball was his first love, Mr. Scott also excelled in basketball, and in 1995 won the free-throw basketball competition in the 80-to-85 age bracket, Mendoza said.
When he wasn't playing racquetball or shooting baskets, Mr. Scott was riding a bike, lifting weights or going for brisk walks, which he took up after sore knees forced him to abandon jogging.
Of all his accomplishments, Cathy Scott said, her father was proudest of the book he published in 2000 about growing up in the Missouri Ozarks titled "The Missouri Kid." "He wrote it all by hand," Cathy Scott said. "It's very `Huckleberry Finn'-ish in style about a boy growing up on the river and fishing and horseback riding and hunting in the hills."
Mr. Scott is survived by his wife, Helen Scott of San Diego; five children, J. Michael Scott of Moscow, Idaho; Sally Scott of Ocean Beach; Jon Scott of Niangua, Mo.; Cordelia Mendoza of Point Loma; Cathy Scott of Las Vegas; two stepdaughters, Cheryl Dykes and Valerie Randle, both of San Diego; a stepson, Ray Somers of Diamond Bar; a sister, Thelma Corey of Walnut Creek; 13 grandchildren; and 14 great- grandchildren.
Services are scheduled for noon Thursday at El Camino Mortuary in Sorrento Valley.

Copyright Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Jan 1, 2002