Albert Lyon Scott Jr.


Albert Lyon Scott Jr., of Berkeley, Calif., died on July 25, 2015, in Alameda, Calif. He was 102 years old. Mr. Scott was born on Jan. 30, 1913, in Newton Centre, the son of Albert Lyon Scott and Alice Chamberlin Scott.

Mr. Scott’s lifelong association with the Vineyard started in 1921, when his father bought the Nest, in Bayside, as a summer home for the family. Soon the Scott brothers had become proficient sailors, prompting their father to get together with some like-minded family men in the neighborhood and lease a nearby property as a site for a friendly, unpretentious sailing club for their children, which they named the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club. Mr. Scott was for many years a regular participant in the club’s races and regattas.

Mr. Scott attended the Moses Brown School in Providence from 1929 to 1932, then entered Haverford College, majoring in English and philosophy. He was an outstanding athlete, and captained a number of winning Moses Brown and Haverford track teams. At Moses Brown he was introduced to Quakerism, and became a member of the Society of Friends. One of the seminal experiences of his young adulthood was his trip to Geneva in 1937 to visit the League of Nations as a member of a delegation of Young Friends. Before the return journey, Mr. Scott bought a new English-style three-gear bike in Liverpool. Upon the ship’s arrival in Halifax, Mr. Scott sent his trunk ahead by train to the Customs House in Vineyard Haven, and rode the bike home. It took him five days to get to Woods Hole.

After college graduation, Mr. Scott realized through experience that he was not cut out for any kind of office job. His interest lay in forests and farms.

In August 1940 he married Iten Judith Noa in the Friends Meeting House in Cambridge. As a conscientious objector, he refused to register for the draft, and in the fall of 1940 he was sentenced to serve a year and a day in the Federal Correctional Facility in Danbury, Conn. He was paroled to the Civilian Conservation Corps to work in the Harvard Forest, clearing up the devastation caused by the 1938 hurricane.

Once out of probation, Mr. Scott worked at a number of well-known Massachusetts farms such as Gould Farm in Monterey, and Fatherland Farm in South Byfield. The Scotts by now had two young daughters.

After the war, the Scotts decided to move to the Vineyard. Mr. Scott did some work for Mary “Bambi” Butler, the owner of Mohu. She offered to sell the property to Mr. and Mrs. Scott, and in December 1946 they purchased the Red Farm and moved in, their goat sharing the front seat of their borrowed pickup with them and the children, to keep it from munching their belongings in the back of the truck.

Mr. Scott worked as a gardener in the summer, and for two winters dredged oysters with John Mayhew at Quansoo, while maintaining a small farm operation. He was an active member of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society and of the Cooperative Dairy. He always had a cow at the Red Farm, which he milked by hand; each summer he walked her up to West Tisbury along State Road to show her in the Fair. He planted trees whenever an opportunity presented itself.

The Scotts were regulars at the folk dances held at the Youth Hostel, and were active participants in the Little Theatre in Vineyard Haven.

In 1956 the couple separated, and Mr. Scott moved to New York City. There he continued to work as a gardener, and also became involved in progressive causes such as SANE Nuclear Policy. From 1962 to 1973, Mr. Scott and his second wife, Eve Stehr Scott, ran a successful school, Escuela las Nereidas, in Santurce, Puerto Rico.

In 1973 Mr. Scott and his second wife separated, and he returned to New York, living and working on Long Island until he retired in 1986. A new chapter in his life began that year, when he moved to Redwood Gardens, in Berkeley, where he made many new friends with a world view similar to his own. He began a 25-year stint as the treasurer of the Berkeley Gray Panthers, also overseeing the office, organizing mailings and meetings, and getting involved in local political activism.

Mr. Scott’s lifelong interest in conservation and agriculture complemented his commitment to pacifism and progressive politics and his fascination with history. He read widely and thought deeply about the impact of colonizers on the colonized and their land. He followed closely the “new” issue of climate change, and aimed to break all the records for longevity — to see “how it all turns out.” Mr. Scott had brought back from Geneva a conker from a horse chestnut tree growing on the grounds of the League of Nations. Back home at the Nest, he placed the conker in a pot of soil. It germinated and became a seedling. Eventually he set the little sapling in the yard at the Red Farm, where it developed into a robust tree that is still growing today. Knowing this pleased him greatly.

Mr. Scott is survived by four children: Margaret Scott Hammond of East Hampton, N.Y., Abigail Higgins of West Tisbury, Katherine Scott of Vineyard Haven, and Albert Lyon Scott III of Newburyport, and by Sandpoort Zuid, Noord Holland, the Netherlands; two stepdaughters; nine grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. An infant daughter and his first and second wives predeceased him. Gifts in memory of Albert L. Scott Jr. can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, 35 Panhandle Road, Tisbury, MA 02568.