A Sacred Moment


John Scott Warner

October 25, 1928 - March 07, 2015

Dr. John Scott Warner, 86, of Brier, WA died on March 7 after a courageous 4-1/2-year journey living with cancer. Born in Salem, N.J. in October 1928, he was the youngest of three children and only son of Leland and Hermione Barker Warner at Rolling Acres Farm. Exploring the magical woods and stream of his boyhood home instilled in him a deep love all of nature - birds, wildflowers, trees, and he could identify them all. An excellent education in a one-room schoolhouse prepared him for college at the age of 16 when he enrolled at Rensselear Polytechnic, then completed his PhD. in Organic Chemistry at Cornell University at the age of 22. He spent 38 satisfying years as an organic and analytic research design chemist at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio. Some of his environmental research included methods to clear seas of pollutants such as red algae or oil spills, and procedures to reduce mercury levels in the fish of the Great Lakes.

His passion for the out-of-doors led him to participate in the Columbus chapter of the American Youth Hostels organization where under his leadership, it became one of the most active outdoor education programs in the US. Teaching outdoor skills and taking both young and old participants (including his family) on canoeing, biking, hiking, caving, skiing, and camping trips filled his weekends for many years.

A devoted family man, he loved sharing adventures with his wife and four daughters including long camping vacations throughout many of the National Parks in nearly every state. In winter, he built an ice rink in the front yard so his daughters could learn to skate safely, and the "Ice Mountain" he created each winter provided adventurous sledding for the whole neighborhood. He provided a stable and loving home, a bountiful vegetable garden, and always had time to give a push on the old tree swing to send a little girl soaring with glee. A true "Women's Lib" man, he supported all five "Warner Women" as they pursued higher education and followed their own paths.

Retiring from research in 1990, Scott and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Brier just north of Seattle at the urging of two of their daughters living there to come enjoy grandchildren and the beautiful Northwest. Hiking was pure joy for him as he enjoyed nature in all its glory - exploring mountain trails, watching birds, and identifying wildflowers. He was so grateful for 25 years of very active retirement. Scott and Marilyn also enjoyed other vistas and cultures as they traveled extensively throughout Europe, Latin America, New Zealand, and Africa together.

A man of integrity with many practical skills, he thoroughly enjoyed being of service to his community. He served on the Brier Planning Commission for four years, then was elected to Brier City Council where he served for eight years. In 1991 he and Marilyn joined the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church where he found an opportunity to serve as groundskeeper of the native plants and trees on the church campus and later was the church treasurer for fifteen years, among other volunteer work there.

He leaves behind his wife of 54 years, Marilyn Stephenson Warner; four daughters, Patty Kerston (Kerry) of Brier; Dr. Elizabeth Warner of Covington; Jody Warren (Bill) of Issaquah; Kathleen Malnor (Ron) of Bellingham; seven grandchildren and one grandson-in-law; Danny and Rachel Warren, Wayne and Jessa (Kerston) Lynch, Wil Kerston, Katie Bubsey, and Louisa and Lucas Malnor. He also leaves two sisters, Matilda Warner Rudesill of Baldwin, WI and Irwina Warner Smith (Hal) of Fair Oakes, CA, plus five nieces and three nephews and their extended families; his sister-in-law, Dorothy Davis Smith of East Canton, OH and an additional three nieces and three nephews.

Scott will be remembered for his deep understanding and love of nature, his bird-watching and wildflower identification hikes, his devotion to his family, his bountiful garden, his commitment to research and education, his love of a good political debate, and the many practical skills he so generously shared. A calm, and happy person, he lived in the moment and in his last days, expressed his great delight in having had a wonderful, active life and in being blessed with a good death where he had the time to share his appreciation and love for his family and friends and to say goodbye. Although we will miss his dear presence among us, memories of all he shared with us will live on - with joy.


A memorial service will be held at the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church, 8109 224th St SW, Edmonds, WA 98026, on Friday, March 27 at two o'clock.


Contributions in his memory may be made to the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church Endowment Fund.




Like a shell on the beach...
My memory lingers on....
The waves carry them in...
The sand erodes their shape
The rain buries them low...
The sun shines them gold...
A stranger picks it up... Seals it in his palm....
Throws it back into the sea
There in the depth of time..
My memory lingers on.

Prabha Trimurty

Hope is the Thing


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all, 

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm. 

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
t asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickenson

Char BarrettWComment