James W. Scott, 83, Navy veteran and insurance executive

A funeral will be Saturday, Aug. 4, for James W. Scott, 83, formerly of Lower Gwynedd, a Navy veteran and insurance executive, who died of respiratory failure May 19 at Fort Washington Estates, where he had lived for the last two years.

Mr. Scott had lived in Lower Gwynedd since 1968, and before that was a resident of Huntingdon Valley.

He had two careers, one in financial services from 1959 to 1972, and a second as a life-insurance salesman and executive from 1972 until retiring in the late 2000s.

Mr. Scott started out working as a management trainee and teller for Philadelphia National Bank in Center City.  He then sold stocks for Drayton, Penington & Colket in Center City and later for the brokerage firms Cannon & Co., the Pro Fund, and Smyth, Akins & Lerch, all in the Philadelphia suburbs.

In 1972, he lost his job at Smyth, Akins. He agreed to sell life insurance for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of America. Sometime between accepting the job and showing up for the first day of work, Mr. Scott got cold feet, so he called home from the golf course to tell his family.

“I can’t sell life insurance,” he told his wife, Lee Hammer Scott. “I can’t do that.”

“OK, just tell them. We’ll figure out something else,” she replied, according to their son James W. Scott Jr.

Mr. Scott reported for work prepared to resign, but rose to the challenge. “He came home swinging his briefcase and was there for the next 40 years,” his son said.

Mr. Scott spent a lot of time in his home office studying the products he sold.

“I think he felt like he was providing a service that people needed, and the work provided him with the flexibility to come and go as he pleased,” his son said.

The only child of James Scott and Anna Elizabeth Wright, Mr. Scott was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Germantown Academy in 1952.  Four years later, he graduated from Lehigh University, and while there pledged Delta Phi fraternity.

Mr. Scott spent two years from 1957 to 1959 in the Navy, as a machinist’s mate assigned to the USS Intrepid (CVA-11) based in Norfolk, Va. He was aboard the Intrepid in March 1957 when the ship was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea after the Suez Crisis.

In October 1956, Israeli troops had invaded Egypt in response to that country’s nationalization of the canal linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas. French and British forces joined in the invasion, prompting threats by the Soviet Union to detonate nuclear weapons over Europe. President Dwight D. Eisenhower stepped in, warning the Soviets to back off, and threatening Britain, France, and Israel with economic sanctions if they didn’t withdraw. By March 1957, Israel, France, and Britain had pulled out their troops.

“His service was kind of keeping the peace,” his son said of Mr. Scott’s role on the Intrepid.

Mr. Scott married Lee Hammer in 1957 while on leave from the Navy. They had three children.

An avid golfer, Mr. Scott was a longtime member of Huntingdon Valley Country Club and Pine Valley Golf Club.  He devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to Huntingdon Valley, serving as president from 1985 to 1989.  He also served on the board of governors and as chairman of the club’s golf and house committees.

Mr. Scott enjoyed working on handyman projects in and around his home, attending model-train shows throughout the area, and spending time with family and friends.

Besides his wife and son James, he is survived by children Anne S. Moseley and Kenneth B.; four grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; and two step-great-grandchildren.

A visitation  on Saturday, Aug. 4, starting at 10 a.m. will be followed by a funeral at 11, both at Abington Presbyterian Church, 1082 Old York Rd. Interment will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to the First Tee of Greater Philadelphia, 800 Walnut Lane, Philadelphia, Pa. 19128 or via www.thefirstteephiladelphia.org.