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Tony Scott: In memory of a loving man, and one of Notre Dame's finest

For a man just turned 56, I’d wager Anthony (Tony) Scott had gazed upon Millard Sheets’ Word of Life mural on the south wall of the Hesburgh Library—aka Touchdown Jesus—and other Notre Dame landmarks more than anyone else of his age. Had to have been thousands of times he’d walked on and visited the campus, as a student and later as a local leader of the Notre Dame Club. That’s more than enough times to have tired of the view and become weary of trips to and around the fabled campus in northern Indiana, less than 100 miles from where he grew up in his hometown of Chicago.

Tony Scott on one of his many trips to see the Irish play.

Tony Scott on one of his many trips to see the Irish play.

But to be bored with anything he loved in life would not have been possible for Tony Scott. I think one of the greatest things to say about someone is that they are engaged in life, that they love life. That was Tony. Beginning with his faith in God, his love for his perfect partner, Patty, and son, Alex, and his desire to help and lead other people, Tony never tired of his zest for life.

Tony jamming with sister-in-law Mary and goddaughter Joelle.

Tony jamming with sister-in-law Mary and goddaughter Joelle.

Among the many traits I admired about Tony, the most important was the devotion he had to things he held dear. After faith was his family. He and I, along with Glen, John, Dan and Rory, married into Bill and Mary Ellen Hynd’s sorority of six girls, who grew up in Moline, Ill., part of the Quad Cities. Patty and Alex were clearly the apple of Tony’s eye. But in addition to being a devoted Christian family man, he had great passion for what life offered: to his alma mater Notre Dame (he had a degree in mechanical engineering), his church Christ the King, guitar music, his idol Willie Nelson, baseball and the Cubs, the Knights of Columbus. He even had passion for hockey pucks and baseball caps, he had collections of both.

But there are more Tony traits. He—and Patty—were highly honored but humble and full of humility. He was what we need more of in this angry world: a giver to the max, not a taker. He was astoundingly happy and upbeat, even when us Connecticut residents and Cardinal and Packer fans would stay in his house on visits. We were nuisance reminders of how the UConn Huskies usually had the edge on the Irish in women’s basketball. And if that didn’t sour his mood, what would? But that was Tony, he was a gracious man.

Tony was loyal and proud regarding so many aspects of his life and his work. He was a proud Uncle Tony to all his nieces and nephews. He knew he could speak to them like a parent but never actually act like one. He was “all in” for Alex, and quickly exchanged his cherished Notre Dame hat for an Illinois State one this fall to support his freshman son and his school. And my wife, Mary, and I will be forever grateful for how proud Tony was to be godfather to our daughter Joelle.

3 men on a boat: Bob Hurst, Tony and the writer motor-boatin' at Merritt Island, Fla.

3 men on a boat: Bob Hurst, Tony and the writer motor-boatin' at Merritt Island, Fla.

Tony’s devotion to the blue and gold of ND would have impressed Knute Rockne. Tony had an overflow of Irish artifacts in the house, ranging from several knick-knack, booster-type items to mementos as a student hockey club manager to the awards of excellence as the president of the Notre Dame Club of the Quad Cities, which he did for nearly 20 years. By all accounts, he was a fabulous No. 1, leading gatherings and bus trips. It is a four-hour drive from the Quad Cities to South Bend, all on I-80, and he and Patty led their final one together on Oct. 28, seeing a 35-14 victory over N.C. State.

The Facebook photos of that trip are now hard to look at, because it was just two days later after that success, while with Patty on a business trip in Atlanta for his employer, Exelon, of Cordova, Ill., that Tony collapsed and died suddenly in the evening, while heading back to the hotel after dinner.

Tony and Joelle having a Quad Cities classic: Whitey's ice cream.

Tony and Joelle having a Quad Cities classic: Whitey's ice cream.

There had to have been 1,000 or more mourners who paid their respects on Nov. 5 at Tony’s visitation at Christ the King, and several hundred at his funeral service the next day. Mary and I were honored to speak words of remembrance, but it was hard to make sense of the grief and shock we felt that a Man in Motion like Tony could be stopped so suddenly and taken from us. We want to hug him again, shake his hand again, and hang out with him again. We ask: Where is the comfort, where is the relief for those left to grieve? The only comfort were Christian thoughts, mainly that Tony is more alive now than when he was among us. That kind of thinking takes the often-used phrase that our “loved one is in a better place” to a new level of understanding and assurance for the grieving. It is for sure that Notre Dame couldn’t have a more loyal booster now looking out for them from up above, just in time to face Miami and the end-of-season schedule.

Tony Scott will always be in our hearts. As a fellow brother-in-law, we carried each other when the other needed it, and on his funeral day, all the brothers-in-law carried their brother to his resting place.

Cliff Schrock