Richard Scott

Obituary of Richard Bonner Scott

“The mountains are calling and I must go”    - John Muir


Richard Bonner Scott died peacefully at the Estes Park Hospital on March 26, 2023 after a long illness. Born in Dallas, Texas, he had forged an adventurous life and at 91 years old was prepared to go. His Colorado and New Jersey family celebrated his 90th birthday together with an American-Turkish BBQ at his rustic mountain cabin where he lived with his wife until the end.


After graduating from Texas A&M University in 1953 with a Business Administration degree, Dick traveled to faraway lands too rugged and risky for most. The summer of his junior year he did coursework at University of Colorado, Boulder, and there acquired his love of hiking and rock climbing - a love he passed on to his youngest son.


While awaiting active military duty, he worked in Estes Park in what used to be “Miller’s Curio Shop” where he swept floors, stocked shelves and best of all, got to take care of the Millers’ horses on their property near the “Thumb” outcropping outside of town. He loved honing his mountaineering skills that summer in Rocky Mountain National Park and deepened his love of animals and the great outdoors. 


In the Air Force Dick served as an Adjutant in the Air Police Squadron at Orly Field, Paris for one year followed by another year in Ankara, Turkey as a Communications Officer for the Joint Military Mission for Aid to Turkey. Before returning to the U.S. for graduate school, Dick studied French at the Sorbonne (Paris) and Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics.


In 1957, while completing a Masters Degree in Sociology/Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, he married French native, Michele Gilbert Moravsky. Their son, Jean Christoph,  joined half-brother Richard Moravsky there. The family returned to Turkey where son, Peter Andre was born. 


During 5 years in Turkey, Dick worked for the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health analyzing village health care projects; conducted Peace Corps training about Turkish villages; conducted field surveys for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization; was an English language instructor at the Turkish Air Force school in Ankara and Izmir and was a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Research for the Middle East Technical University in Ankara under a Fulbright grant.


Once back in the United States, Dick conducted public health policy research for Johns Hopkins University and taught Sociology at Towson State Teachers’ College (now Towson University). Following a divorce, Dick joined the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1971 and was posted to Kabul, Afghanistan. For the rest of his career he analyzed, developed and and lead U.S. non-military foreign aid projects.


In 1974, while posted in Afghanistan, Dick met Mary Louise Tragle, there for a summer visiting her sister, then a Peace Corps volunteer.  They married in 1978 in Arlington, Virginia and together lived and worked in Mali, West Africa; Peshawar, Pakistan; Mansehra, Pakistan; and had a 5 year assignment in Washington, D.C. where Dick was Chief of the Pashto Language Service at Voice of America. 


Dick retired from government service in 1991, but continued contract work for private firms involved with opium-related issues in southern Afghanistan. He and Mary have lived in their 1912 cabin in the Big Thompson Canyon, Drake, CO since 1993. Together they owned a home-based wholesale/retail  business, Black Mountain Traders, which specialized in the importation of Afghan refugee-made carpets, and other items from Central Asia. Dick tirelessly advocated for of U.S. policy changes helpful to his Afghanistan “home” through event presentations, media interviews and frequent emails to newspapers and diplomatic colleagues. Dick delighted in snaring his colorful stories humanizing America’s perceived enemy. 


Dick’s parents, Clay Christopher Scott, Sr., and Allie (Bonner) Scott, only sibling, Clay C. Scott, Jr., and two nephews predeceased him. Surviving is wife, Mary of Drake, CO, sons Chris Scott (Michele) of Brick, NJ, Peter Scott (Lara Riscol) of Boulder, CO and Girona, Spain, grandchildren Ryan, Emily and Jared Scott. Dallas-based family include sister-in-law, Jeanne Scott, nieces Lee Ann Mix (Charles), Susan Stout (Wilson)  and great nieces Dr. Katherine Mix, Theresa Mix and Ashley Stout Peterson. The Dallas family are regular visitors to their own Big Thompson cabin. Colorado family is sister-in-law, Tyler Jenner (Jesse);  niece, Lydia Tirpak (Douglas);  two great nephews and one great-great niece and 1 great-great nephew. 


At Dick’s request, there will be no service following cremation. His loved ones will always remember his free spirit, sharp intellect and the twinkle in his eye as he delivered his dry, devilish humor. He will be deeply missed.

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