Quick-witted truckie high-spirited 'til dying breath
IN A rare sight, more than a dozen trucks lined Grafton Bridge yesterday in a convoy behind a hearse to Clarence Lawn Cemetery. It was a fitting tribute for 'bloody legend' Don Scott, the Grafton operations manager at MI Organics who died on the morning of New Year's Day after a battle with cancer.
MI Organics managing director Jon Tait, who is based in Coffs Harbour, organised the procession.
"His family is well known in the timber logging industry. He was our operations manager in Grafton and looked after 30-odd blokes," Mr Tait said.
Mr Scott first felt symptoms in about May or June, but passed it off as flu and continued to work.
"We had a few blokes sick with flu, and he thought he had a bout of the flu and kept battling away which was his nature," Mr Tait said.
"He kept on going, doing three people's job and you just couldn't hold him back.
"One day my young fella mentioned Don wasn't quite himself and I said 'mate you've got to go get yourself looked at'."
Friends and family accept the delay would have mattered little in the long run. Mr Scott was taken to Brisbane where it was discovered he had secondary cancer in his bone marrow.
"He'd had a liver transplant six and a half years ago and thought it might've had something to do with that. But it wasn't.
"They couldn't find the primary cancer. After nine or ten weeks up there, the only thing they could see that didn't look right was a lesion on the side of his thyroid gland. They took that off but still couldn't find anything in the laboratory.
"He had chemo and had to have another in three weeks, but ended up with pneumonia and had to cancel that. The cancer was enraged and within a very short space of time he was in a bad position."
Mr Tait's description of Mr Scott's final days highlighted the quick-witted 53-year-old's character.
"His mum Isobel rang up on Saturday night and said it was not looking good, so myself and my partner shot up there.
"He gave me the bad news as I came in the doorway, saying things like 'my radiator's boiling', 'the injectors are blocked' and 'oh well the jury's out'.
"He was fiddling around with his breathing apparatus, I said 'what's wrong' and he said 'there's bloody water in the air cleaner'.
"All the way through it was discussion like that. He was really composed about it for someone who had just been told they're finished and have only hours to go."
"He said 'just a minute, I don't know if they'll let you in up there. But I think I'll be able to convince them to let you in, so I'll see you up there'.
"He's just a funny bugger, a true character, very witty and sharp."
Mr Scott passed away at 7.15am (QLD) the next morning.
Mr Tait said it had been an emotional time for the family, with Don's father Wal Scott also diagnosed with terminal cancer. The underlying theme was Don's composure.
"When Isobel rang (last Saturday night) to let me know, I heard this voice from the deep 'mum, I'm alright'."
He older brother Bruce returned from Ireland just in time to say goodbye.
"Don was hanging out waiting for them," Mr Tait said. "He did have the option of going to ICU on life support but said 'bugger that, I'll stay here'."
Bagpipes played during Mr Scott's graveside burial before friends and family gathered at South Grafton Bowling Sports and Recreation Club.
"He actually wrote two songs for Princess Diana when she passed away. Just another thing I didn't know about him," Mr Tait said.
"He was extremely talented in life and could've done anything."