No. 157



William Penn, the English Quaker and founder of the State of Pennsylvania once said, "Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in another still." These words, I think, better than any other, describe a wonderful young man by the name of Scott Pendleton. Scott was the Grandson of my long time friend, the late Win Pendleton who lived in Winderemere, Florida.

One day shortly before he passed away I got a note from Win, along with a news article, saying that at the age of 31, Scott had been killed in a tragic automobile accident near his home in Mesa, Arizona. Because this dear man was so very special to me, rather than a few words in a sympathy card, I just picked up the phone and called him. It was obvious from the beginning that he was hurting, but slowly he began to tell me about Scott and the wonderful life he had lived.

Scott was a skilled musician and played French horn in the University of Miami band. He later transferred to the University of Michigan where he received a degree in music. Shortly thereafter he took a job with the Mesa, Arizona public schools teaching music to fourth grade students in three elementary schools. From the beginning he had an uphill battle because he was teaching violin to 30 students and many did not want to be in his class. You know how you would feel if you did not want to take violin but mom and dad said you had to.

One thing that made Scott's classes unique is that he taught the Japanese method of playing the violin. While I am not a musician, I have been to Branson, Missouri and had the pleasure of hearing Shoji Tabuchi play the violin at his own theater. If Scott could teach these youngsters to play the violin like that, they would have something they could be proud of for the rest of their lives.

Because this young man had a wonderful, magnetic personality, plus being a very gifted musician, he began to win his students over. It was not long before there was a waiting list to get into his classes. In the area of human relations here is a technique that Scott used that could help any of us. When he was having difficulty with a particular student, he would say something positive and complimentary about this student to the other members of the class. Before long, word would get back to this student what the teacher had said. A changed attitude was almost always the result.

In a day when our society cries out for good role models I just thought you would be blessed by reading his story. He came to town with nothing, and although he was there for only a few short years, he left with everything. A good name, an impact on many of the people that he touched and a legacy that will live on for many years to come.

This was most evident when it came time for Scott's funeral. There were over one thousand people who came to the viewing at the funeral home and over one thousand people who came to the service the next day. In addition to family and friends, the mourners included members of the school board, administrators, teachers and students.

The television newscast that evening in this city of 300,000 people devoted about five minutes of coverage to his funeral and it featured comments from teachers and one of his students who told about the impact that Scott had made on his life. A Scott Pendleton Memorial Fund has been established with an initial deposit of $10,000 to help needy students to buy musical instruments. Scott Pendleton is too soon gone, but his life really counted. He truly did make a difference. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)