Former state Supreme Court Justice Scott dies at 86

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 20, 2015

CHARLESTON – Former Supreme Court Justice and retired Circuit Judge George Scott has died. He was 86.

Scott died Nov. 10 of Parkinson's disease. He was remembered by current Justices as a kind man, a gentleman, and a scholar.

“Justice Scott was a fine gentleman and an excellent judge,” Chief Justice Margaret Workman said. “His career on both the circuit court and the Supreme Court were distinguished by his scholarship and high level of integrity. My prayers and deepest sympathy are with Sam, Susan, and the rest of his family and many friends.”

Justice Robin Jean Davis said, “George Scott was a pleasure to work with. He was a legal scholar and a kind man. I will miss him.”

“Justice Scott was a hard-working and respected judge,” said Justice Allen H. Loughry II. “I recall being a Senior Assistant Attorney General arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court at the time of Justice Scott’s tenure. He was always prepared, and he treated the attorneys with respect. It was clear that he cared about the judicial branch and that care showed in his thorough and well-written opinions.”

“Justice Scott was an outstanding jurist and lawyer. He excelled at every challenge. But of all his successes, his greatest success was in being a loving, engaged husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many,” said Justice Brent D. Benjamin. “George was a wonderful person whose legacy to West Virginia will continue on.”

Scott was born Aug. 5, 1929, in Reedy in Roane County to Basil Edward and Elva Snodgrass Scott. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Glenna Darlene Moss Scott; his only child, Phillip Blair Scott; his brother, Charles Scott and his sister, Patsy Markwood Decker. He is survived by his grandson, Samuel Christian Scott; his daughter-in-law, Susan Scott; his sister, Mina Jo Varan; his brother, Basil Edward Scott Jr.; and many nieces and nephews.

Scott attended one-room elementary schools and graduated from Walton High School in 1945. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1946 to 1949, attaining the rank of sergeant. He attended West Virginia University and West Virginia University College of Law, graduating with honors and serving as editor of the West Virginia Law Review.

After law school, he was a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Ben Moore for one year. Thereafter, he practiced law with William S. Ryan in the Spencer firm of Ryan & Scott. He was Roane County Prosecuting Attorney from 1956 to 1964.

Scott held various offices in the West Virginia State Bar, including President-elect in 1972, when he was appointed Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit. He was elected judge three times before retiring in 1987. He served as President of the West Virginia Judicial Association.

Then-Governor Cecil Underwood appointed him to the West Virginia Supreme Court on Nov. 4, 1999. He served until Dec. 31, 2000, after which he returned to practicing law in Spencer and was of counsel to the Charleston law firm of Carey, Scott and Douglas.

Scott served as president of the Roane County Chamber of Commerce and the Spencer Rotary Club, as judge advocate of Roane County Post 21 of the American Legion, and as a director of The Traders Bank. He was one of the founders of the Roane County Country Club. He was one of the founders of Roane General Hospital and served as an officer and board member of that facility for many years. He was chairman of the Roane General Hospital Foundation, Inc., at the time of his death.

He was a prime moving force in the funding and construction of the present Roane County Courthouse. In 2014, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin named him a Distinguished West Virginian.

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