Monday, February 8, 2016

Fwd: Scotty talk by Jerry

Here's a copy of my talk from Scotty's funeral…

What Would Scotty Do?

Scotty was perhaps best known as being an eternal optimist. He seemed to naturally always see the good in everyone and in every situation. 

In fact, throughout his life there were few times where I ever saw him discouraged. 

A few years ago when he was really busy with PA school and having to study a lot and all the while feeling sick from cancer treatments and I knew he had a brain scan scheduled that day so I sent Scotty this text;

Me: Did you have an MRI today? How'd it go?
Scotty: Good! Everything looked awesome today! ðŸ˜€
Me: Nice! Could they tell if you've gotten any smarter?
Scotty: Well....I answered all their questions before they asked them.  
Me: Yep, definitely smarter

No matter what hardships he faced, he seemed to always endure them with the biggest and brightest smile on his face. To me, he was the poster child for having an attitude of gratitude. 

I had the opportunity to be here from Utah and help care for Scotty during his last 10 days of life. That experience had a profound impact on me. I can't thank you enough Emily for letting me be a part of that and my wife AnnMarie for being so supportive while I was away. 

Even at the very end of his life when cancer had taken away his ability to walk and talk and even his ability to swallow, he was still the Scotty we all know and love, laughing at my jokes and constantly saying "I love you" and "thank you."

One of Scotty's heroes is a Book of Mormon prophet by the name of Nephi. And as I think about it, Nephi's family was similar to my own family. 

There was a dad named Lehi who was a spiritual man and loved to give lectures to his kids, which is just like my dad. There were the 2 oldest sons Laman and Lemuel, who didn't always have the best attitude and that was kinda true for Bobby and me. 

And then there was the little brother Nephi, who despite obstacles and challenges in his life he was always faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God and was an example and a teacher to his family and others and that is exactly who Scotty was. 

Now Nephi's family was asked of God to do hard things. One of those hard things was to leave the comfort of their home and their possessions and travel in the wilderness, which lasted for 8 years. 

I want you to listen to the Nephi's perspective about this experience compared to his older brothers Laman and Lemuel.

Here's how Nephi described what happened: 1 Nephi 17:2-3 

Now in contrast listen to how Laman and Lemual described the exact same thing : 1 Nephi 17:20-21

Both had the same experience but Nephi was blessed and strengthened, and nourished while Laman and Lemuel were miserable and unhappy. 

For 4.5 years Scotty battled brain cancer.  And despite surgeries, and rounds of radiation and chemo and all of the side affects and being so sick at times, Scotty like Nephi, decided to go and do what the Lord wanted him to do and he too was blessed and strengthened and nourished.  

As Brian mentioned, Scotty kept a journal throughout his entire life. He also recorded video journals during his cancer journey. Having the opportunity to read some of his journals and watch some of his videos, I was able to see for the first time during his cancer journey, a Scotty who had moments of discouragement and worry and fear. 

But in every single journal entry or video, Scotty did what we call "the turnaround." Where he would turn from whatever his troubles were and express gratitude for his blessings and re-commit to the Lord to work harder and be more faithful. 

In one of these videos he's in the emergency room after just having a grand mal seizure and in the video he explains what happened and you can tell he's pretty down about it and then he does the turnaround and ends up sharing this profound and heartfelt love for his Savior. It's incredible! 

Here is a journal entry from 1995 when Scotty was just 13 yrs old:

 "I've decided from this day forward I will go on an all-out war against Satan. I will fight till the day I die. I will be a soldier. I love the Lord. He loves me. He died for me. I will be a child of God and strive to the end...I will pray, read my scriptures, fast, keep the commandments, love my enemies and be a friend to everyone."

In one of his more recent journals, there was an entry titled: "My Plan to a Deeper Conversion" where he listed 10 things he would do to draw closer to the savior. I'd like to share this with you: (see attached)

May we all adapt Scotty's plan to have a deeper conversion in our lives. 

Scott loved and cherished his sweet wife Emily and his kids. He was a note writer and Emily has a huge stack of love notes and letters he wrote her throughout their marriage. I came across one letter to Emily where he was reassuring her of their future together. He made a long list of all the things he knew with certainty. Each sentence started with "I KNOW" in bold capital letters. With Emily's permission, I'd like to share just a few: 

  • I KNOW you make me so happy
  • I KNOW saying I love you could never adequately say how I really feel about you
  • I KNOW I would be lost without you
  • I KNOW that we will be together forever

One of Scotty's "I knows" was this: 

  • I KNOW that one day we will have a beautiful home with an awesome porch, a lush garden, a big grassy yard, with trees, plants and shrubs. 

Emily - I want you to know that I know that you and Scotty will be together forever and that you and him will have a beautiful home with an awesome porch, a lush garden, a big grassy yard, with trees, plants and shrubs. 

The Norton family has decided that the best way that we can remember and honor Scotty is when we're faced with a difficult decision or a hardship in our lives, to ask the question: "What would Scotty do?" 

Today as we celebrate Scotty's amazing life, let us continue Scotty's legacy to pattern our lives after the Savior Jesus Christ. May we all declare an all-out war against Satan. May we all commit to a deeper conversion and may we all bear our burdens with a bigger and brighter smile and with gratitude for our blessings because that is what Scotty would do. 

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Thanks, Jerry


  1. Great post and example of how attitude effects those around you. Also, my heartfelt sorrow for your loss, Just a few months ago we lost my sister by marriage to cancer also. I had the priveledge of helpng in her care as we battled a very aggressive cancer for over a year and she too had that peace of God and never complained even to the end.

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