John H. Schott III, long-time leader of Dignity USA in Philadelphia and nationally, was born on June 25, 1938, in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania into a family with two sisters and two brothers. He was active with Boy Scouts in his formative years and eventually became a highly decorated Eagle Scout. After graduating from high school in 1955, he spent three years in the U.S. Navy and five years in the Air Force Reserves. While in the Air Force, “Scotty” earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy from St. Joseph’s University (1963). He subsequently received a master’s degree in public administration from Temple University in 1983.
Schott taught courses at Girard College and Temple University High School before he was hired by the City of Philadelphia’s personnel department in 1975. He spent more than thirty years working for the city as a training and development specialist, personnel analyst, training consultant and training director. He retired in December 2006.
“Scotty” started his long-time involvement with Dignity Philadelphia in the late 1970s. He served as president of the chapter from 1989-1991 and again from 2005-06. His accomplishments with Dignity Philadelphia included: creating the Deo Gratis Award to honor members for outstanding service; initiating a rite of Holy Union for same-gender couples; and leading the Emmaus Outreach program providing resources for sick and homebound persons. He spearheaded a special program in October 1990, entitled “Gay and Lesbian Catholics Claiming their Birthright” in response to Cardinal Ratzinger’s antigay 1986 proclamation.
He also served on the national board of Dignity USA and served as its international liaison staying in contact with Catholic organizations around the world, particularly in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.
Dignity Philadelphia colleague David Kalinowski noted that Scotty was well-known in the Dignity community for his ability to run a meeting using his strong parliamentary skills.
Scotty was also an avid train buff, had artistic skills as exhibited in drawings for architectural design and was a skilled harmonic player. He died of a sudden heart attack on April 20, 2009.
(Information for this biographical statement taken from an obituary by Jen Colletta in the Philadelphia Gay News and a memorial by David Kalinowski in the Dignity USA newsletter June 2009.)