Dr. Kenneth Munro Scott departed for his Heavenly Home at the age of 98 on September 15, 2014, to join his beloved Ann. His passing was eased by the patient and loving care of the wonderful Health Care staff of Givens Highland Farms, Black Mountain, under the auspices of CarePartners Hospice.
Ken was born on March 22, 1916, in Tsingtao, in the German Crown Colony on Shantung Peninsula, China. The youngest of five children, his parents, Charles Ernest and Clara Heywood Scott, were Presbyterian missionaries in China for 36 years. The family for the next thirty years was buffeted by the brutal Communist uprising and the Japanese invasion of the Chinese Mainland. After attending schools in China, the Scott family was forced by political events to move to North Korea where Ken attended the first years of high school in Pyongyang, Korea (under Japanese colonial occupation), and then graduated from The Stony Brook School, Long Island, New York.
In 1933 Ken began studying music, both piano and organ, at Davidson College in North Carolina. While he ultimately went on to pursue a career in medicine he continued to be an accomplished pianist and organist, playing in recitals, church sanctuaries, and the Black Mountain Rotary Club until he was 97 years old. He graduated from Davidson Summa Cum Laude in June 1937 and was accepted at the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania. During his residency at the Presbyterian Hospital in West Philadelphia Ken met Anna Bicksler, the charge nurse and “little general” of the third floor. The wedding took place on July 11, 1942, and they honeymooned in Western North Carolina.
But they did not have long together as Ken entered the U.S. Army as a Captain in the Medical Corps just three weeks after they were married. After training he was shipped out to China via India, to serve as an advisor to the Third Chinese Army in Burma and China (because of his fluency in Chinese). He returned to the United States in 1945, much thinner after the rigors of jungle life, but ecstatic to be reunited with Ann.
Children soon followed: Ken, Jr. was born in 1946 and Charles in 1950. Ken completed his surgical residency and then served on the staff of the Veterans Administration hospital in Coatesville, PA. During this time he decided that he was called to serve as a medical missionary. As China was now closed to Americans, Ken accepted a call to serve in the Republic of Korea. October of 1952 found the Scott family on a freighter traveling across the Pacific Ocean to Yokohama, Japan. They lived in Tokyo until it was safe to move to Korea following the Korean War. From April 1954 to the summer of 1957, Ken was director of the Presbyterian Hospital in Taegu and its chief surgeon. A daughter was born in March 1956 – Elisabeth Alden Scott, or Betsy.
After furlough in the US 1957-58, Ken was assigned to Severance Hospital in Seoul which became part of Yonsei University. He served as professor of surgery at the medical school. While he was very happy to serve in Korea, in 1964, Ken was called to another country – India – to serve as the Director of the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab. This large institution – an 800-bed hospital, 350-student medical college, nursing school, and several subsidiary hospitals – needed calm leadership and a vision for transition to Indian leadership. After ten years, Ken achieved his objective and was succeeded by an eminently capable Indian director.
The Scotts returned to western North Carolina in 1974 and lived in Swannanoa, overlooking Warren Wilson College, for 27 years. The couple happily participated in the life of the Swannanoa Valley and Warren Wilson Presbyterian church. Ken worked at the Black Mountain Center as a physician in the tuberculosis program of the NC Department of Public Health, retiring in 1991. Ken and Ann then moved to Black Mountain in 2001 and to Highland Farms in 2010. His beloved Ann passed away in August 2010.
Ken is survived by three children – Ken, Jr., Charles (Marjorie), and Betsy (John Murphy); seven grandchildren – Thayer Scott (Diane Waggoner), Audrey Scott (Daniel Noll), Michael Scott, Brian Scott, Gordie Murphy, Joey Murphy, and Nick Murphy; and two great-grandchildren – Vivian Scott and Sylvia Scott.
Ken took Proverbs 3:5 as the guideline for his life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight”. He believed this promise implicitly and felt God’s guidance through all the decisions and major commitments in his long and productive life.
A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held on Sunday, September 28 at 3:00 p.m. at the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church, 117 Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Instead of flowers, donations can be made to Presbyterian World Missions, PO Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
Funeral arrangements have been made through Harwood Home for Funerals, Black Mountain.