Witty, sweet, tender and polite; these are just a few of the words family and friends used to describe Austin Scott at his memorial on Dec. 22.
“I just want to give people a sense of how awesome...a person that he was,” Alex Scott, Austin’s dad, said during the memorial at Lake Forest Park Civic Club.
Austin, an 18-year-old WSU freshman from Lake Forest Park, died in a car accident on Dec. 15, while returning home for his first Christmas break from school. The car he was riding in flipped after slipping on the icy Interstate 90 roadway near Ellensburg. Courtesy of the Scott family
His family said they will remember Austin’s passions, his attention to detail and his ability to debate any side of any issue. Most of all, they will hold on to his smile and his kind and loving soul.
“Behind his cool-guy attitude, Austin had the biggest, most loving heart,” Melissa Engdal, Austin’s mother, said in a written letter read at the memorial. “He loved his family and friends passionately. He helped me get through some of the lowest moments in my life by just being himself.”
Austin showed promise as a businessman, having a quick analytical mind, great mental math skills and a sharp attention to detail.
“He was a very smart kid, a good kid. I know he’s up there with the Lord, probably listening right now,” said Jack Engdal, Austin’s grandfather.
Austin touched the lives of everyone who knew him. Lynleigh Oliver, his girlfriend, said he always knew what to say.
“He’s just very special. I’ve never felt more beautiful and more special than I did with him. I’m really going to miss him,” she said. “I felt like I had such a short time with such a beautiful person.”
She added that Austin told her he wanted to make a difference, to be a ‘big deal.’
“I don’t think he realized what a big deal he was to us, how many lives he’s touched, how he’ll never be forgotten,” Oliver said.
Austin had his interests, hobbies and quirks. The family recounted at the memorial about how he loved cheese, especially macaroni and cheese and fettuccine alfredo. He grew up with an Elmo doll as a teddy bear, and he feared spiders.
Alex told a story about Austin at sixteen going on seventeen, when he was sure there was a spider on him. He said Austin came charging into the room, ripping off his own clothes and searching for the spider.
“He’s sitting there in his underwear and he’s looking at me, his face is all white, and he’s like ‘Spider! Giant spider!’” Alex remembered, with a laugh.
Austin’s interests and hobbies developed over the course of his life. He played little league sports, but as he grew up he immersed himself in his favorite hobby: gaming.
As a child, Austin was passionate about Pokemon and, when it came out, the GameBoy. His dad taught him the art of gaming on the Xbox, which he truly loved.
“He continued to master his skills and began contemplating what it meant to go pro. His heart and mind were fully invested in competitive gaming and rightfully so because he was damn good at it,” Alex said.
When Alex offered him a PC in exchange for his Xbox, Austin jumped into the online gaming culture.
“He pretty much kicked the crap out of everyone he played, me included.” his dad said.
Although it wasn't unusual for Austin to do his high school homework during the early hours of the morning after gaming, he still maintained a high GPA. In his senior year he turned his study habits around, stopped procrastinating on homework, started sleeping a healthy amount and began thinking toward the future. Then, he applied for college.
Austin originally planned to attend Ohio State, but decided on WSU. With a wall cable enabling him to continue online gaming, new friends and a desire to get involved, Austin flourished in his WSU college experiences.
“He was excited to come home for the holidays,” Alex said. “He was adamant about getting his driver’s license. He never had a lot of interest before, and I was in no rush to have him driving around.”
Austin's family continued to share memories of him on a memorial website they created in his honor.
“I’m left with my memories and an unchanging picture on the wall. Our pictures will grow old around his,” Alex said. “I miss him dearly. The one thing that won’t ever diminish is how much I love him, and nobody can ever steal that away from me.”
Melissa, his mother, shared a message Austin wrote shortly after he graduated high school. It said, “I hope someday, Mom, I will make you proud.”
She responded, “Austin, my love, I have always been proud of you and I always will be.”