HAMMOND — The lessons of the Holocaust and their timeless relevance will carry forward thanks to Tim Scott and his presentations to area classrooms.
The 62-year-old attorney and former high school teacher died Wednesday, Jan. 20, from complications of a chronic disease. He leaves behind a legacy of education and tolerance, having inspired others to stamp out racism and hatred in their communities.
“His true passion was working with youth,” said Kevin Scott, his youngest brother. In addition to dozens of presentations yearly through his Put Out the Flame nonprofit organization, Tim Scott also taught confirmation classes and was active in Scouting.
“He really connected with the kids,” Kevin Scott said, adding it was difficult for his brother to scale back his Holocaust talks to schools in 2020 due to the pandemic. “He really loved doing that.”
Scott was the third youngest in a family of eight siblings. He will be buried in his hometown of Medford, Wis., though the family is exploring options for a local service in accordance with pandemic restrictions.
The Star-Observer received an outpouring of messages from students, friends and colleagues who remembered Scott as a funny, caring man and a natural storyteller. Here’s what they had to say:
Scouting the World
“He looked like Louie Anderson, was as funny as Louie Anderson, and had a million stories that would have you in tears,” said Daniel Lauer-Schumacher, formerly of Baldwin, who met Scott as a teenager through Scouting the World, an exchange program Scott started in the 1990s with Scout groups in Germany.
“Tim dedicated his life to reaching out to youth and teaching them to expand their worldview with love and compassion,” Lauer-Schumacher said, adding Scott was a mentor who inspired him to pursue a career helping others.
Jörg Gastel said Scott visited his Scouts camp in Germany in 1988, which formed the groundwork that would lead to the creation of Scouting the World.
“Tim made a big impression on all participants of the camp right away with his attitude, his humor, his song leading and most of all with his ability to interact with people and deal with the youth,” Gastel wrote in an email Thursday.
Star-Tribune journalist Michael Corey, another Scouting the World alumnus, said Scott’s teaching and “unflinching moral clarity” helped shape the way he approaches his job as well as the lessons he plans to pass down to his children.
“In unsparing detail he taught so many students about the abandonment of all humanity that faced the Nazis' victims,” Corey said, “because he had one thing he really wanted us to know: It can happen again. It can happen here. And ‘good’ people gone wrong can bring it about.”
Scott taught German at the high school level and traveled around Europe extensively. He also followed in his father’s footsteps by going to law school. He would go on to practice bankruptcy and municipal law for several years and clerk for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas S. Utschig for the Western District of Wisconsin.
Timothy O’Brien with Bakke Norman law firm — where Scott practiced law before starting a solo firm in Hammond — said Scott’s Holocaust presentations will have a lasting impact on local communities.
“He used the example of humanity at its worst to challenge his listeners to become their best,” O’Brien wrote in an email. “I know from attending those talks and reading essays Tim received after the talks about the profound effect he had on so many.”
Scott was featured in multiple RiverTown Multimedia newspapers over the years. In a 2008 story he described traveling to concentration camps and how it caused him to question his personal views and biases. He told a group of Ellsworth students at the time that indifference to hatred and unwillingness to end racism could lead to a repeat of the Holocaust.
“Tim was probably the most generous person with his time that I know,” said Dave Newman, an editor with the former New Richmond News. “His speeches on the Holocaust were spellbinding.”
Scott made an impact at St. Croix Central, where he taught German, attended Washington, D.C, trips with students and was known to deliver German chocolates throughout the school.
“Students who sometimes struggled to make connections with teachers or peers connected with Tim the most,” history teacher Luke Fritsche said. “He always had a group of kids sitting around his desk listening to him tell stories and laugh.”
Class of 2020 graduate Logan Johnson said Scott’s German class was always one to look forward to.
“He was a role model, and I know not only to me, but to almost everyone he came in contact with,” Johnson said. “Tim’s personality and friendship are hard to come by and he will be dearly missed.”
Teachers across St. Croix and Pierce counties regularly welcomed Scott into their classrooms to engage students and convey the modern relevance of Holocaust history.
Retired River Falls High School teacher Doug Hjersjo first saw Scott's presentation at a teachers conference. He said he was so impressed he asked Scott to speak at the school around 10 times.
“Tim did a wonderful job of educating the students at River Falls High School on the sensitive and important topic of the Holocaust,” Hjersjo said.
Current River Falls social studies teacher Paige Segerstrom said she was always impressed with the way Scott was able to captivate an audience of young people for three-plus hours.
“Mr. Scott would end his presentation by reading letters from students throughout our geographic area about the hatred and discrimination they have witnessed in their own lives,” Segerstrom said. “It was really eye-opening and necessary for students to hear.”
Nancy Norman, a former Toastmasters member, said Scott once asked her for constructive feedback on his Holocaust presentation, but she was at a loss for words.
“There was nothing I could say he should do any differently,” Norman wrote to the Star-Observer on Friday. “I have never been more impressed by a speaker than I was by him on that day!”
- Do you have a memory of Tim Scott to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org