The village of Newcomerstown lost one of its icons Wednesday as Vane S. Scott, Jr., passed away at his Newcomerstown home following a short struggle with cancer.
The well-known businessman, entertainer and community leader was involved with a multitude of endeavors throughout his life, from his beginning as an entertainer, to decorating entire cities for parades, including Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Dwight David Eisenhower and for several Miss Americas; and to creating flags and banners for events such as the Olympics, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Super Bowl and more.
Locally, he was also known as being a driving force behind the local museums, along with his late life, Barbara Scott, who died in 2008. Together they were instrumental in the development of the USS Radford Museum and the Main Street Museum and Social Center and with the continued operation of the Temperance Tavern Museum.
Vane was born in Steubenville on Nov. 8, 1924, a son of the late Vane S. "Great" Scott and the late Frances Johnston Dawson Scott.
He was a graduate of Newcomerstown High School, Class of 1943. He enlisted in the Navy and served in the South Pacific as an electrician-gyro compass technician aboard the U.S.S. Radford DD 446 and the U.S.S. Presidio APA 88. Vane received the Asiatic Pacific Ribbon with five Battle Stars, the World War II Victory Medal with an Asian Occupation clasp, the Philippines Liberation Medal, and the Government of the Solomon Islands ribbon award for the Liberation of the Northern Solomons. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, Vane returned to civilian life and attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He worked for a short period of time as a precision grinder for Warner & Swasey, New Philadelphia. He later joined his father and became involved in Great Scott Displays. Vane began his career by working on various carnivals and circuses as a show painter of highway signs, ticket boxes, and trucks, and restoring Merry Go Rounds. At this time, he also began his singing career with bands and combos which lasted for 40 years and included venues all around Ohio and radio and television spots.
On Nov. 18, 1951, he married Barbara J. Waller Scott, Newcomerstown. Following their marriage, Vane and Barbara took over and managed the family's "Great Scott" displays for the next 20 years. They traveled coast to coast and became the largest traveling parade float and decorating company in the United States. Their company helped decorate Washington DC for President Eisenhower's first inauguration in 1953.
They also decorated entire cities and designed parades for two of the Miss America pageants, Hollywood and motion picture world premiers, the World Plowing Contest, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame celebration and parade. They also worked at countless county and state fairs, including the Ohio Sate Fair. Also included were celebrity homecomings, centennials and sesquicentennials. Vane and Barb wrote books on "How to design and Build Parade Floats" and "How to Welcome Home a Major Celebrity."
They retired from these road shows and travel schedules in 1968 and returned to the Tuscarawas Valley.
It was at this time that Vane and Barb established the Colonial Flag Company in Newcomerstown. The business later moved to Coshocton and created flags for the State of Ohio, the NFL, and the Super Bowl. Also created were flags for the Capitol of the United States. The company was later sold to Annin and Company, the world's largest and oldest flag maker. The Scott family remained 25 years as division managers. Business ventures continued with the World Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. The company appeared in local and national media many times.
In 1970, Vane wrote, produced, and performed his patriotic show, "Many Faces of Old Glory." This production continued for 38 years.
Vane appeared with such stars as Glen Campbell, Peter Noone, Dan Jansen, Zig Ziggler, and the Oak Ridge Boys. He performed in Branson, Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach, and the Phoenix Sun Bowl. Vane also performed with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic three times. These videos were shown to all JROTC high school programs and were registered with the Air Force Libraries. They were also shown on every naval fighting ship.
Vane retired from the flag business in 1990. Vane then became the founder and national president of the USS Radford 446 Association and the USS Radford National Naval Museum, which was created in Newcomerstown in 2001. The Radford project reached over 1,400 shipmates that were found. He also assisted Barbara with the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center project, which is a prelude to the Mary Hayes Dining Theatre Complex. He designed and help to build many of the Olde Main Street exhibits. Vane produced a special version of his popular video to almost 1,000 tour busses to promote the Newcomerstown museums.
Vane's community activities were extensive. He served as master of ceremonies for many years at the Newcomerstown Memorial Day Parade and Program. He also spoke at many surrounding communities on Memorial Day. He helped to plan the Desert Storm celebration in Newcomerstown in 1991. Vane was a former board member of the Tuscarawas County Philharmonic Orchestra and performed his "Many Faces of Old Glory" show as a fund-raiser for the Friends of the Library. He gave considerable time to the Newcomerstown Historical Society and the Temperance Museum, and created their patriotic displays. He also performed his show at the U. S. Bicentennial, Newcomerstown, in 1976 and 1977. His show also aired on PBS in Topeka, Kan., and Tampa, Fla. He presented his show at no charge to the Veterans' Home, Sandusky, the Masonic Home, Springfield, and many area high schools.
Vane was a member of the Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce, the Newcomerstown Historical Society, life member of Lone Star Lodge 175, Newcomerstown F&A.M., life member of Royal Arch Masons, Nugen Chapter 124, and the 32nd degree Scottish Rite Valley, Cambridge. With the veterans, he was a life member and current adjutant for the Darrell Beiter Post 3303, Newcomerstown V.F.W., a life member of the Thomas Montgomery Post 431, Newcomerstown American Legion, a life member of the Amvets Post 36, a life associate member of Korean War Veterans, a life associate member of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 532, and the last active World War II member of the Newcomerstown Veterans' Honor Guard. He also served as President Emeritus and editor for the USS Radford Association, and was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2004, the Newcomerstown Veterans Hall of Fame, and the Newcomerstown High School Wall of Fame.
Other memberships included being a life member of the BPOE 1555, Newcomerstown Elks Lodge, the Newcomerstown Rotary Club, the Tin Can Sailors, and the Kentucky Colonels. He was Goodwill Ambassador of 1984 for the Coshocton area Chamber of Commerce, cited in the Congressional Record, board member of the Spirit of Freedom Foundation, and with wife Barbara were Citizens of the Year, 2001, with the local Knights of Columbus, John Kennedy Council, and a member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, 2004. Vane and Barbara also received the Lifetime Achievement Award, 2006, from the Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce.
Vane was preceded in death by wife, Barbara J. Waller Scott, Newcomerstown, who passed away May 7, 2008. Also deceased is his younger brother, Karl Edward "Eddie" Scott, California, who died in 1975.
Vane is survived by two sons and a daughter, Kennon E. Scott, Florida, and Vane S. "Bud" (Sue L.) Scott III, and Gayle L. (Gary D.) Opphile, all of Newcomerstown; four grandchildren, Chad A. (Dawn R.) Opphile, Brad A. (Chasity) Opphile, Vane S. "Skip" Scott IV and his companion, Emma John and her daughter, Alaina John, all of Newcomerstown, and Vanessa L. and (Jamie) Shample, Coshocton; five great-grandchildren, Alicia, Amber, and Ashlyn Opphile, Newcomerstown, and Mackenzie Carr and Raymond "Tray" Truex III, both of Coshocton; and several nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will also take place Monday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ourant Funeral Home, Newcomerstown. Elks Lodge Services will take place Monday at 5:45 p.m. Masonic Lodge services will be held on Monday at 8 p.m. at the conclusion of the Monday visiting hours.
Visiting hours are also scheduled on Tuesday from noon until the 1 p.m. funeral at the funeral home.
Funeral services to celebrate Vane's life will be Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Ray Booth, former editor of the Newcomerstown News, will serve as master of ceremonies. The Rev. Donald Silverthorne will have the benediction.
Burial will follow in the West Lawn Cemetery, Newcomerstown, where the Newcomerstown Veterans' Honor Guard will perform military graveside services. The funeral procession will depart the funeral home and proceed west on Canal Street, passing the Scott family residence for the past 150 years, the Temperance Museum, the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center, and the USS Radford Museum, which were all significant parts of Vane's life.
Following the graveside services on Tuesday, the family will meet in the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center for a luncheon and fellowship and a time to share memories of Vane.
The family is requesting that memorials be made in Vane's name to the Newcomerstown Veterans' Honor Guard, One Canal Court, Newcomerstown, OH 43832; or the USS Radford Museum, c/o Mr. Bob Hammon, 4813 Royal King Court, St. Louis, MO 63128.