Eric L. Scott, a longtime WJZ-TV photojournalist known for his professionalism as well as his friendly and outgoing demeanor, died Nov. 15 from a massive stroke at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Taylorsville resident was 54.
“Eric was so very special to all of us in the WJZ family,” said Richard Sher, longtime WJZ-TV personality. “He was one of those larger-than-life guys, who worked hard, played hard, always with a big smile on his face, a sparkle in his eyes, when he wasn’t wearing his sunglasses. Among the many people with whom I’ve worked in more than 45 years in the news business, Eric was a superstar. Excellence personified.”
He added: “Loved and admired by everyone. Missed terribly.”
“This is a guy I worked with every day in the field, and he had a smile that would light up the world,” said Rick Ritter, WJZ-TV anchor.
“This is a guy who worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known, plus he had a talent that was second to none,” he said. “You never had to worry when you were in the field doing something because you knew he take care of his end. He also didn’t take his editing lightly when it came to capturing the humanity of the people in Baltimore.”
Former WJZ reporter Mike Schuh worked closely with Mr. Scott for a decade.
“We had a visual story to tell, and he was the rare individual who always made your day better. You couldn’t find a better colleague or friend,” Mr. Schuh said. “We called him HeavE, with a capital ‘E,’ and he was always so cheerful that after running into him, you knew it was going to be a good day. Eric knew how to treat people and had a nice word for everyone. He treated people with the same respect whether you were down and out or a known newsmaker.”
Eric Lamont Scott, son of Christopher Scott, a nuclear power plant worker, and his wife, Sereta Hood Scott, an insurance company office worker, was born in New York City and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he graduated from Rustburg High School.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1988 in mass communications from Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia, where he also played basketball and was team co-captain.
His first job in TV was working for WCYB in Bristol, Virginia, and in 1993 he joined the staff at WJZ.
During his 25-year career on TV Hill, Mr. Scott covered a variety of stories that included hurricanes, snowstorms, breaking news, human interest pieces, the Ravens Super Bowl and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He traveled to Cuba to cover the Orioles when they played the Cuban All-Stars.
Mr. Schuh and Mr. Scott were sent to Nagano to cover the Olympics, and the obvious obstacles were the time difference between Baltimore and Japan, long hours and lack of sleep.
“Eric said, ‘Let’s come back friends, take care of each other, and get the story,’ ” Mr. Schuh said. “He added that ‘friendship was more important than that day’s story.’ ”
He added: “He was a Pied Piper who liked talking to people and he made everyone’s day better.”
“He had the ability to tell people’s stories, and Eric didn’t care about your color, religion or politics, especially in the world we live in today,” Mr. Ritter said. “He was kind to everyone. You can’t replace Eric Scott. He was like a brother to me, and his loss is simply monumental.”
“A lot can go wrong with deadline news, but you never had to worry when HeavE was around,” Mr. Schuh said. He would tell you that everything would turn out OK and that we’d be proud of our work in the end.”
Two years ago, Mr. Scott suffered an aortic dissection and heart attack that ended in heart failure. In November 2018, Dr. Erika Feller, who is in charge of the cardiac transplant program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, took over his case and implanted a left ventricular assist device or LVAD, a mechanical pump, implanted in his body to help a weakened heart pump blood.
“During his time with an LVAD, Eric settled into his role as a grandfather, cooking, playing Pickle Ball and staying fit for a heart transplant,” his wife of 14 years, Dr. Theresa Marie LaMotte, program director of Applied Exercise Sciences at CCCB, wrote in a profile of her husband.
On Oct. 8, Mr. Scott received word that a heart had arrived but then suffered bilateral strokes that left him with catastrophic brain damage until his death.
Mr. Scott was an avid chrocheter. “He taught himself and was pretty intense until he got it down,’ his wife said.
Highly athletic, he trained and competed in marathons and triathlons and was an avid bow-and-arrow hunter, practicing in a bow range he had set up in his backyard.
“When you’re in the TV news business, you spend countless hours in cars and it was always great listening to Eric’s stories,” Mr. Schuh said. “And they were fantastic stories that always ended with a lesson about how to be a better person and how to do a better job.”
A virtual memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. today at Bridgeway Community Church. Those wishing to attend the Zoom service are asked to go to this link: bridgeway-cc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUudOytpz8qHNYp5aRnMafbrYxY7PFTK9WWI.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Scott is survived by a daughter, Rylee Grijalba of Westminster; his parents, of Lynchburg; a sister, Tonya Scott Burke of Lynchburg; two grandchildren; a niece and two nephews. Another daughter, Taylor Perdue, died in 2015.