W. Lambert (Scot) Gardiner R.I.P.

Written by  //  June 18, 2011  //  Absent Friends, People Meta, Wednesday Night Authors  //  5 Comments

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Death of a Renaissance man
In memory of Scot Gardiner
By Terry O’Shaughnessy

(Your Local Journal) I’m sitting here in front of my screen trying to write a second column for this space. Fifteen minutes ago I was putting the finishing touches on the first column I’d written for today when a phone call came with news that struck the heart.
As impossible as it is to imagine, Scot Gardiner has died—and I’m trying to find the right words that could possibly fit an event that feels so momentous somehow.

W. Lambert (Scotty) Gardiner of Hudson was a true Renaissance man.
Writer, scholar, professor, raconteur, film-goer, music lover, Plato Academy revitalizer and Scrabble player, Scot was to be found at A temps perdu’s coffee counter, or at the end of Hudson’s yearly Santa Claus parade, or simply walking on the street en route to a Scrabble game or Hudson Village Theatre. Just last week he was at a concert watching a great band that was playing in town, standing in his trademark Tilley hat, tapping his foot to the beat.

Of course, his reach went far beyond the village of Hudson.
To quote one obviously tongue-in-cheek biography blurb, “Dr. W. Lambert (Scot) Gardiner has been leading his life in volume-sized episodes for the convenience of biographers.” PhDs, universities like Concordia and Cornell, book launches, think tanks—Scot led a pretty high level life beyond the borders of his town. His intellect and great charm were always in evidence, as was his incisive curiosity about the issues of the day. His self-styled “15 year sabbatical” held lots of adventures—someone in town once told me they thought he lived in Greece on the same tiny island at the same time Leonard Cohen famously did. With Scot, you felt this was a totally possible thing.
What always struck me was the kind way he spoke with people. In my conversations with him, he always chatted in such a comfortable way—a way that made me feel like I was on his level. When he launched his book Roots, Episodes, Cohorts: Experiments in Autobiography in May of last year, I asked him to sign a copy for me and he did, addressing it to “another writer,” which made me feel like my pile of rejection slips had not quite been in vain.
And then there is the part today that makes me so sad—and happy. Scot and I sat on the porch at Greenwood House just this past Sunday and had a great leisurely chat. He asked me if I’d sent of a manuscript I’d talked to him about, and told me about a new book he was working on. He said he was looking forward to when the radiation treatments on his face would end so that he could talk properly again. “I have to able to talk,” he said more than once, clearly worried about it. “Talking is my life.”
Luckily we have his books so that we can always listen to Scot Gardiner talk.
But that’s not what I’m thinking about most today.
It’s the image of him walking down Cameron, hat on his head and satchel of books hanging from his shoulder that is in my mind’s eye right now as I try to write this morning about his death.
It’s the thought that his presence among us will simply no longer be—and how we will miss it so.

Hudson Mourns Passing of W. Lambert “Scot” Gardiner
(Hudson Historical Society) On Thursday June 15 “Scot” Gardiner — former HHS Archivist and major contributor to the Society, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University, perennial Santa Claus in Hudson’s Christmas Parade, and a most gentle, curious and optimistic person — passed away. The Hudson Historical Society and the entire town of Hudson mourn his passing. Scot said he lived his life in “volume-sized episodes”. Sadly, the last volume is now closed. But his work for the Historical Society can be sampled by clicking on his multimedia project, “T.B.Macaulay Virtual Museum Exhibit“. His mind, as he put it can be visited by going to www.siliclone.com. The love and respect that he inspired in people can be found around the world.

Meet Scot
Hi, I’m Scot. Note there’s only one “t” – it’s a nickname because I come from Scotland. My posh name is W. Lambert Gardiner. The initial is at the front because W. stands for William and I never used it as a name (every Tom, Dick, and Harry is called William). For 20 years, I used my middle name Lambert (my mother’s name when she was a maiden before I put an end to that) as a Christian name. You can understand then why I was happy to answer to Scot when I got off the boat in Canada.
I’ve been leading my life in neat, multiple-of-five-year, volume-sized instalments for the convenience of biographers. Here then is my mini-autobiography:

Flunked out of elementary school, High School, and Glasgow University.
Career otherwise undistinguished.
Work by day and study by night. B. A. Sir George Williams University.
High School Teaching Diploma – McGill University.
Ph. D. Cornell University. Nothing else happened.
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Sir George Williams University.
700 day students in matinee and 700 evening students in late show.
Exploring alternative ways of living and learning – Esalen Institute, Findhorn, Auroville and other countercultulture communities.
Author-in-residence at Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, Monterey, California – Psychology: A Story of a Search (1970, 1974), An Invitation to Cognitive Psychology (1973), The Psychology of Teaching (1980).

Member of GAMMA Group, an inter-university, inter-disciplinary think tank. Over 100 papers and talks on Conserver Society and Information Society summarized in The Ubiquitous Chip (1987).

Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Concordia University. One of my courses has evolved into A History of Media (2002).

This book is the first in a series to plan my obsolescence once again. My other courses – The Psychology of Communication, Media Futures, and Media Research Methods – will also evolve into books. Planning one’s obsolescence is an important function of a teacher – and of a parent. The fact that we will become obsolete is one of the few things we know for sure. I’m planning my obsolescence by creating my Siliclone – a silicon clone of myself – which will eventually replace me in Volume 8.

5 Comments on "W. Lambert (Scot) Gardiner R.I.P."

  1. Shannon June 20, 2011 at 7:16 am ·

    My heart stopped for a moment when I received the news. While consoling myself by perusing siliclone I came across his chapter on mortality. In a way that Scot seemed to always do for me, he put it all back in perspective and reminded me why I was blessed to have known him. http://siliclone.tripod.com/books/elvis/E101.html

  2. Ion Valaskakis June 20, 2011 at 11:40 am ·

    Diana –
    Thank you for these kind words and thoughts. We’re all still reeling from the news, and can’t quite believe that “our Scot” is gone. By the outpouring of emotion following his passing, though, it’s clear that he was nearly “everyone’s Scot” – that is, that he was loved and adored by so many more people than just our family. No surprise there …

  3. Kimon Valaskakis June 20, 2011 at 11:45 am ·

    I of course concur with Ion’s answer. I believe that to do justice to him we have indeed to place his words, writings, indeed life work on all our websites in some form or another. I will be writing more about Scot in the next few days but for now, thank you Diana and David for your kind gesture. Kimon

  4. Paris Valaskakis June 20, 2011 at 11:50 am ·

    Thanks to Diana and David for posting these heartfelt messages in honour of our beloved companion. We will keep his good works alive in one form or another.

  5. James O'Grady August 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm ·

    I didn’t hear about Scot’s death until a few months ago but I stopped by his grave at Greenwood Wednesday to pass on my respects. I think about him often. He will be greatly missed.

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