Funeral held for Chicago school official

November 21, 2009 9:47:30 PM PST
A private funeral was held Saturday for Chicago School Board President Michael Scott.Scott was found dead along the Chicago river early last Monday. The Cook County medical examiner has ruled his death a suicide.

Scott's family and friends remembered him Saturday by focusing on his life of public service.

There was a pilgrimage of mourners as the loved ones of Michael Scott gathered for a final goodbye.

"This is his day and a day when we hope to honor him and hope his soul is in heaven with God right now," longtime friend Abraham Morgan said.

The notable to the not-so-well-known attended the private weekend service for the school board president.

"Michael Scott was very instrumental in helping me decide to take on a life of public service because Michael Scott was my first counselor in the youth center," said community activist Wilbert Cook.

The crowded sanctuary was testament to the lives he touched as a 60-year-old Scott was remembered for his love of family, community and helping kids from the same poor West Side neighborhood he came from.

"His cousin spoke with such great authority, and people were roaring and responding. The mayor spoke with tearful eyes. He said goodbye to Michael," Rev. Jesse Jackson of the RainbowPUSH Coalition said.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley left the service without any public comment about the loss of his trusted friend whom he appointed to the school board presidency twice.

And in honoring his life, most could not ignore the circumstances of Michael Scott's death. His body was found earlier this week partially submerged in the Chicago River. A 38-caliber handgun was found nearby. So far, police have found no evidence of a crime.

Although Scott's passing has been ruled a suicide, Ald. Ed Smith, who has known Scott since 1983, says he doesn't believe Scott killed himself.

"We don't know what happened because Michael Scott is not the kind of individual that I know, and I have known for years, that would take his own life." Smith said.

Scott's loss was made more difficult for his two adult children who lost their mother in May of this year.

Before getting into a waiting car, Michael Scott's widow eulogized her husband. Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan did as well.

"I just talked about how hard he worked, how unselfish he was," said Duncan, currently the U.S. Secretary of Education.

The heart-felt remembrances of Michael Scott did not end with his funeral service. A public memorial service is set for Sunday to honor Scott's commitment to others and his legacy. The memorial takes place at the UIC forum at 725 West Roosevelt Road at 4:30 p.m.

Michael Scott's family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Better Boys Foundation (BBF), Michael W. Scott Scholarship Fund, 1512 South Pulaski, Chicago, Ill. 60623.


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