Charlie Scott

Charles O. Scott passed away Sunday at the Veteran’s Hospital in Palo Alto. A celebration of his life and memorial service with Military Rites to be held on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 1 P.M. in the plaza of the Veteran’s Memorial Building in Hollister. Contributions are preferred to or the Wounded Warriors Project.

Scott, known as Charlie by friends and family members, was born on January 17, 1935 and passed away August 11, 2013. Scott was a longtime community leader in San Benito County. Among his various community service awards, he was honored as Philanthropist of the Year by Vision San Benito County in 2011 for his work on a two-year visioning process looking at the future of San Benito County. In addition to that he served on several community groups including the San Benito County Planning Commission, the Seniors Council, Hollister Biker Rally Committee and Chamber of Commerce. 

Charlie was known was born near South Sioux City, Nebraska on January 17, 1935. When he was very young, the family settled in Portland, Oregon. The third child out of five and the oldest son, the family agrees Charlie took some pride in being a handful for his mother and father, Ruth and Walter. As a small boy, he had a paper route and would regularly take some money from his pay each week to buy a root beer float, a treat he still loved as an adult. As a fifteen year old, he fibbed about his age and joined the Marines.

Unfortunately, it was required that a new recruit send a letter home to mom and his age was discovered by the Chaplin. He was honorably discharged from duty and sent home after about six months. His experience as a Marine is most likely the reason that he and his High school administrators agreed that it might be better if he left school and went to work full time (after being asked by the High School to very kindly not ride his motorcycle through the hall). The next few years were spent in a variety of jobs, from mechanic to truck driver to carnival worker for Oaks Park & Amusement Co. based in Portland, Oregon. At Oaks Park he worked on the mechanics of the rides as well as driving the small train around the park and even occasionally working at the roller skating rink. From his time there, he developed a lifelong love of wooden roller coasters and carrousels.

In 1957, the military came calling again, and this time it stuck. Charlie spent the next 22 years in the US Army, retiring as a Command Sergeant Major. When he was promoted to this rank, he was at the time one of the youngest people ever to reach that rank. Over his military years, he worked extensively in operations, maintenance and logistics planning and personnel management. He completed three tours in SE Asia during the Vietnam conflict. During his time, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal 5th Award, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/ Palm Unit Citation. He was stationed in California, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Hawaii, Washington DC, Kentucky, France, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. After his military retirement in 1978, Charlie took his experience to FMC Corporation in San Jose as a Defense Industry Project Manager. Specializing in operations, planning, logistics, maintenance and personnel management mainly around the Bradley fighting vehicle, he traveled the world in support of this work. It was while working at FMC that Charlie met his wife Barbara. Retiring once again in 1990, motorcycles and community service became the focal point of his life. Charlie got back on a Harley – a love he had since he was a teenager and rode around the country. He shipped a bike to Australia in 1991 and rode around that continent as well. With Barbara, they traveled through much of the US, including Alaska, and Canada. In Hollister, where he and Barbara settled in 1994, they both became active volunteers in the community. Leave your comments and memories about Charlie below.