Veteran Baptist communicator Orville Scott dies at age 80

Orville Scott and his wife Emma Jean look over Scott's newly published book "Autumn at the Lake and Other Poems" in 2011. (Photo: Ken Camp)

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Orville Lindsey Scott, whose service as a Baptist communicator spanned four decades, died Jan. 12 in Grand Saline at age 80.

Funeral arrangements are pending with Eubank Funeral Home in Canton.

orville scott book200Orville Scott, from the cover of his book Autumn at the Lake and Other Poems. Scott was born July 11, 1934, in Magnolia, Ark., to Lacy A. and Katie Sistrunk Scott, and he grew up on a dairy farm near Carthage. After his graduation from Carthage High School and Panola Junior College, he went on to earn his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas. He later completed two years of graduate studies in journalism at the University of Missouri.

Scott worked for the Austin American-Statesman as managing editor of a couple of trade journals, but he felt he was failing to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. A mentor, UT journalism professor DeWitt Reddick, told him he had received a request from the public relations director for the Baptist General Convention of Texas, asking if he could recommend anyone as press representative for the Baptist state convention.

Reddick’s recommendation subsequently led to Scott’s long career in denominational communications, which included service as director of the BGCT public relations office and as director of the BGCT news and information service. Scott also worked for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, where he was editor of Charity & Children.

‘Poet laureate of the Baptist Building’

Throughout his career as a journalist and public relations practitioner, Scott wrote poems—often for family, friends and coworkers on special occasions. Colleagues at the BGCT dubbed him “poet laureate of the Baptist Building,” and for several years, the printed program of the Texas Baptist Evangelism Conference featured a poem inspired by that year’s theme, each simply signed “O. Scott.” In retirement, he compiled a self-published collection of his poetry, Autumn at the Lake and Other Poems.

Scott was a deacon and Sunday school teacher many years, at First Baptist Church in Richardson and later at First Baptist Church in Canton.

Award-winning communicator

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At various times, he was a member of the Gideons, the Kiwanis Club of Dallas and several professional organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America. He received multiple national awards for news and feature writing and other areas of communication from the Baptist Communicators Association.

He served with honor in the U.S. Army—six months active duty and six years in the Army Reserve.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Donald, of Elysian Fields.

He is survived by his wife, Emma Jean Dunlap Scott, of Grand Saline; three adult children—James Scott and Elizabeth Scott Steadman, both of Fort Worth, and John Scott of Murphy; five grandchildren—Travis Steadman of Garland, Rebekah Steadman of Bangkok, Thailand, Michael Steadman of Fort Worth, Rachel Scott of Austin and Emily Scott of Murphy; two sisters—Wanda Scott Gray and Shirley Scott Williams of Longview; two brothers—Lane Scott of Phoenix, Ariz., and Mervin Scott of Carthage; and several nieces and nephews.

The family asks that memorial gifts be made to the Gideons or to the Baptist Standard.

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