Editor’s note: The death of S. Buford Scott shocked the Richmond community. Below are some tributes The Times-Dispatch received over the past week honoring his memory.
In 2005, I met Buford Scott when he visited The Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, where I was on staff of the State Fair of Virginia, raising capital to convert the birthplace of Secretariat. Buford was impressed with the beauty of the new property, and before we could even discuss the campaign goal, he declared, “I’ll give $100,000!” with his usual enthusiasm.
Since then, I have gone many times to Buford’s office to sit across from him, next to his grandfather’s gigantic walnut roll-top desk, eating peanut M&M’s from a glass bowl, to ask his advice and help with Richmond’s top donors. He served as my reference for consulting work, and together, we raised funds for the Richmond Community of Caring, the Virginia Capitol Foundation, the John Marshall Foundation and others.
He once gave me a card with a quotation from Calvin Coolidge from a stack he kept in his grandfather’s desk, which has inspired me many times:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
On the day after Buford passed, I was at Scott & Stringfellow on other business and was given the sorry news. I stopped by his office, looked at the empty chair at his grandfather’s desk and the glass bowl of peanut M&M’s, then gave Linda [Ludeke] a hug and left with sadness but also a conviction that Buford’s legacy will continue through my work and through the lives of the thousands of others that Buford touched.
Last week, I lost my mentor. Richmond lost a titan.
President,David P. King Fundraising Counsel, LLC.
It was my good fortune to meet Buford Scott when I joined the board of directors of the Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE), an organization he co-founded nearly 50 years ago. Economic and financial education is a cause Buford championed through his association with the VCEE, and as a result, thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students in Virginia have become economically and financially literate. Working with Buford was a real pleasure, and over the years, my respect and admiration for him grew, not just because of his numerous business accomplishments and contributions to the community, but because of the person he was.
Buford was a great man and a role model for me in so many ways. He was a successful businessman, an impactful community leader, a valued mentor and dear friend to many, a devoted family member and a devout Christian. Remarkably, Buford wove together all of these aspects of his life in a seamless manner. In all situations, he was the same person — genuine, friendly, purposeful, wise and caring. Business associates were friends, and friends collaborated with Buford in support of his many good causes. When dining with Buford, be it a small group or large, in social settings or business, he expected that a prayer would be offered before the meal and, usually, it was Buford who said the prayer. He could recite more prayers from memory than anyone I know.
The way Buford lived his life will continue to be a source of inspiration for me. And, though he will be missed, it is comforting to know that his legacy lives on, and his good works will continue.
Executive Director,Virginia Council on Economic Education
If each of us provides even a small portion of the energy Buford Scott devoted to community service, we could alleviate or drastically reduce many issues faced by our community and individuals. Buford and his wife, Susie, were very generous in giving money to nonprofit entities. But more so, he was extremely generous with his time.
More than many, Buford understood the importance of every individual having a foundation in basic economic principles. He would get excited about telling young students how powerful they were as consumers. That in our economic system, consumers decide what goods and services are produced and whether a producer will be successful. He was passionate about every student graduating economically and financially literate. He acted on this by joining with several others nearly 50 years ago to establish the nonprofit VCEE to promote economic and financial literacy for K-12 students by supporting teachers so they could better teach these life skills. For most of those 50 years, he served on VCEE’s executive committee as well as several other committees. While he was very helpful in his advice, he also was very giving of his time in many ways that promoted the organization and its mission. He recruited many valuable board members and was an excellent model for the role that a board member plays. He will be missed. But nothing would give him greater pleasure than knowing that he inspired others to be actively involved in bettering the lives of others.
Sarah Hopkins Finley,
Former Executive Director,Virginia Council on Economic Education
The congregation and pastor emeritus, the Rev. Walter Anderson and current pastor Danny Tucker of the Parrish Hill Baptist Church were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Mr. Sidney Buford Scott. For it was the death of Mr. George Allen, a deacon and trustee of our church, that brought him into the lives of our membership. Mr. Allen worked as a chauffeur and butler for the Scott family for many years. At his funeral, Mr. Scott asked what his family could do in Mr. Allen’s memory. As the conversation continued, we decided that a scholarship fund would be an excellent way to honor Mr. Allen’s legacy. Mr. Scott shared how Mr. Allen was honest, polite and a gentleman when working with his family. They loved him.
Several weeks later, Mr. Scott attended a meeting with our church’s governing board and explained to us about investing and giving. During the same meeting, he offered a significant donation to start the George Allen Memorial Scholarship fund at the Parrish Hill Baptist Church in Charles City. That night, I learned a valuable lesson on the power of investing and giving. Today, we have sent five students to school by using these funds. Now, I am an educator with a small business and the valuable lesson that I learned was that scholarship and giving are the highlights of living and helping others. The legacy of Mr. Scott’s family and Mr. Allen will be forever remembered at the Parrish Hill Baptist Church. To the family and his widow, Mrs. Susan Bailey Scott, come and visit with us and know that we feel the loss of such a loving man for his brothers and sisters in Christ. His love is enduring. “Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.”
The family must believe that there is power in prayer and salvation is free.
The Rev. Danny Tucker, senior pastor,
The Rev. E. Walter Anderson, pastor emeritus,Yvonne D. Smith-Jones, clerk
Parrish Hill Baptist Church
Buford Scott, along with J. Curtis Hall, then dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, founded the Virginia Council on Economic Education in 1970. Since that time, Buford has been a tireless proponent for educating K-12 students in the commonwealth, with remarkable results.
But his impact is on a national scale, as well. Buford was the driving force behind the creation of the Stock Market Game in the United States in 1977. As a result, millions of students nationwide have since learned about investing by participating in the Stock Market Game.
Some years back, my assistant let me know that Buford Scott was on the phone. At the time, I knew Buford slightly, so my first reaction was: “Oh, Lord, what did I do?”
My next reaction was: “Oh, Lord, how much is this going to cost me?”
But Buford’s call was the first of many times he surprised me, because he called merely to ask if I cared to drive with him to Charlottesville for a meeting of the Virginia Council’s board of directors.
Imagine that ... three hours of Buford’s time ... uninterrupted by phones, emails, the demands of the day ... who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity?
Over the miles up and down Interstate 64, we discovered our shared connections around family, friends, our values, our love for this fine city and our beloved commonwealth, among many other things.
That was my first opportunity to get to know this kind, wise, thoughtful, insightful and visionary gentleman. Don’t get me wrong ... that phone call eventually did cost me money, but the rewards have been far greater. Everybody in Virginia, and many across the U.S. have benefited from Buford’s desire to help his fellow brothers and sisters in ways both large and small.
A. Eric Kauders Jr.,
Past Chair,Virginia Council on Economic Education
This is heartbreaking news. It has been my pleasure and honor to work with Buford Scott since coming to VCU in 1989. He was a remarkable man — warm and thoughtful to everyone. He wanted to help people and championed economic education because he was convinced that those who understood how the economy works would be more successful participants in it. He was focused on the young. He delighted in interacting with student entrepreneurs at the Mini Economy Market Day. He gleefully recounted his conversations with the student winners of the Stock Market Game, especially the elementary winners. He was encouraged by the knowledge of students in the Governor’s Economics and Personal Finance Challenge.
Buford had ideas, but he didn’t talk a lot. He came to 7:00 a.m. executive committee meetings, listened carefully and, at the end, would say something insightful. He didn’t say anything unless he had something worth saying.
I remember fondly that at luncheons, when called upon to say grace, this was his prayer:
“Back of the loaf the snow-white flour.
Back of the flour the mill.
Back of the mill the sun and the shower.
Back of it all God’s will.”
God gave Buford Scott many talents and he used them all for good. He was a “good and faithful servant.”
Retired Director, Center for Economic Education,VCU School of Business