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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Obituary: Stratton, Scott David

Age 51

STRATTON, Scott David In a freak accident at Pullman’s Sunnyside Park, Scott David Stratton suddenly passed from this life into the next on the evening of February 18, 2014.

Scott had a medical history that included frequent seizures, and he apparently had an attack while walking his dog near the park pond, fell into the freezing water, and drowned without ever regaining consciousness.

From early childhood, Scott was the kind of kid who always “pushed the envelope,” by biting into a tube of airplane glue at 18 months, going AWOL from kindergarten at 5, and frequently skipping class in high school.

After graduation and a brief sabbatical, however, Scott got serious about education and life itself, enrolling at WSU where he earned B.

A. and two MA degrees.

With his newfound motivation he entered graduate work at Arizona State University where he earned a PhD in history.

Scott then returned to Pullman and, as an adjunct instructor at WSU, taught a wide range of courses in American history.

His passion, both inside and outside the classroom, was popular culture and how it related to the “big picture” of national and world history.

He fervently believed that movies, trends in music, television, sports, and generally what the average person enjoyed during leisure hours revealed an essential part of the overall historical pattern.

In person, or in the classroom, Scott was a walking encyclopedia of sporting events as well as television series and landmark films.

He had a special talent as a teacher in conveying his passion for popular culture to students and causing them to share his scholarly insights.

He could tell them immediately who had won the Super Bowl in 1989, the score, and the winning and losing quarterbacks.

At the same time he could readily explain the relevance of the Vietnam War, the Kennedy assassination, the Watergate scandal, the Cold War, and globalization.

He was an innovative and entertaining teacher, who connected with students in a unique way.

In current sports his favorite teams were the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Francisco Forty-Niners.

He loved biking, working out, and walking with his beloved dog Mojo in Sunnyside Park.

Scott was born in Waco, Texas, on August 15, 1962, to Wanda Lee Cummings Stratton and David Hodges Stratton.

In truth, however, Pullman was the only hometown he ever knew because his parents moved there when he was six weeks old and he grew up in the Palouse country.

One of Scott’s claims to fame came in the Pitch-Hit-Throw Competition at age 9 in Pullman.

In that contest, part of which involved throwing a baseball down the 50-yard line of a football field, he won second place.

The third-place winner was John Elway, who later starred as quarterback for the Denver Broncos and is the present general manager of that team.

In this instance, and otherwise, Scott disdained any special show of attention to himself and refused to display the contest plaque.

Scott Stratton is survived by his father, Dr. David H. Stratton, WSU professor emeritus of history, who finds his own feelings expressed in the Scripture involving another son and father: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

(Matthew 3:17).

Scott is also survived by his sister, Nancy Stratton Hall of Olympia, a public school Dean of Students; his brother, Dr. Michael J. Stratton of Edmonds, a 35-year Boeing project manager, and Michael’s wife Cheryl; along with five nieces and nephews and six great-nieces and great-nephews.

His mother, Wanda Cummings Stratton, died in 2012.

The family will hold a private graveside burial at the Mountain View Cemetery in Farmington, Washington.

There will be a public Celebration of Scott’s Life at the WSU Lewis Alumni Centre on Saturday, March 8, 2014, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The family requests that no flowers be sent, but contributions may be made to the Scott David Stratton Scholarship Fund in the WSU History Department, Pullman, WA, 99164-4030.

The family wants to express great appreciation to the Pullman Police Department for its outstanding cooperation in the long hours devoted to the missing person search.

Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with funeral arrangements.

Online condolences for the family may be left at

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