Remembering Willard Scott and his love for the Valley
RAPHINE, Va. (WHSV) - Longtime NBC “Today” Show Weatherman Willard Scott passed away on Saturday surrounded by family.
Scott purchased a farm in Raphine near the Augusta-Rockbridge County line in 1992 and called it home for the past two decades. WHSV spoke with Scott’s daughter Mare about his life and his love for the Valley.
“My sister and I had a really good time with dad growing up, you know, he was a good dad,” said Mare Scott, Willard’s daughter. “He was one of the most generous, happy, fun, loving, giving person in the world, you know, he’d give you the shirt off his back.”
Willard Scott was the weatherman on NBC’s “Today” Show for over 30 years, best known for his fun personality and humor. Scott grew up in Alexandria, Virginia but fell in the love with the Valley. Scott wrote the foreword to the book Rockbridge: A Photographic Essay by Bruce Young and Jennifer Law Young.
“I believe we’ve got it made-the best of all worlds-physically, geographically, historically and traditionally,” Scott wrote.
After retiring from the Today Show in 1996, Scott moved full time to his farm outside of Raphine.
“He loves the mountains way more than the ocean, he hates sand, so in the old days you’d go down to the beach in Florida and he’d have his shoes and socks on cause he couldn’t stand it,” said Mare.
Mare says the Valley was Scott’s favorite place and he spent much of his time enjoying his farm, gardening and cruising around on his trustee Gator.
“You’d see the back of dad, Willard driving, and this little prick-eared dog right by his side and they’d go through cow pies, and since there’s no fenders it’d go all over you know, he enjoyed that,” said Mare.
Mare says Willard and his friends got into all kinds of hijinks on the farm over the years, including riding around in a helicopter with Stephen Spielberg, when Spielberg used part of Scott’s property during the filming of War of the Worlds (2004).
“Stephen loved dad, and they came up (in the helicopter) and buzzed us up at the big house, I could actually see their faces because they were right there by the kitchen window, it was so cool,” said Mare.
Scott’s Rockbridge farm was also the site of his final on-air appearance in 2015.
“Right up there at the barn, Al Roker came down and they had a nice program, it was really weird for me to see at 3′o-clock in the morning they’re setting up cameras,” said Mare.
Willard Scott was 87 when he passed away. “87, that’s pretty good and he had a full 87, a full life, but I’ll miss him,” said Mare.
Copyright 2021 WHSV. All rights reserved.