Ray Huard: (619) 542-4597;
Published: January 1, 2002
had a passion for racquetball before many people even knew there was such a
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,"
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
Copyright Union-Tribune Publishing Co. Jan 1, 2002