Paul W. Scott
Paul W. Scott

Paul W. "Scottie" Scott, a retired Maryland Transit Administration bus driver who was an ardent collector of Motown music and artifacts that earned him the sobriquet of "Mr. Motown," died Friday of bladder cancer at Good Samaritan Hospital.

He was 78.


Born to working-class parents in Baltimore, Paul Wesley Scott was raised in East Baltimore, where he graduated in 1953 from Dunbar High School.

He joined the Navy in the mid-1950s, serving as a steward.

"During his brief leaves, he loved to party to the sounds of Etta James, Ray Charles, Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, the Coasters, Tina Turner, Otis Redding, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Billie Holiday, the Temptations, and the list goes on and on," said Sherrell Claiborne, a granddaughter, who lives in Owings Mills.

"In an age of poodle skirts, block parties, and great neighbors, he was recruited by a friend to help with an event, and it was there that he laid eyes on the most beautiful being his soul had ever encountered," said Ms. Claiborne: the "former Jean Harper."

In 1956, Mr. Scott married Miss Harper, whom Ms. Claiborne described as his "best friend and No. 1 fan."

Mr. Scott's wife gladly joined him on his "journey through the world of music," said Ms. Claiborne, who said her grandfather spent years collecting the musical artifacts that filled the entire basement of his Chinquapin Park-Belvedere home.

"Every wall, ceiling, door and shelf displays music memorabilia from the early years of black music to the current day, and he got to know these people," said Ms. Claiborne.

While not a musician, Mr. Scott traveled the music circuit for years and acquired the thousands of items that made up his collection, his granddaughter said,.

Mr. Scott also spent endless hours at the Sound Garden independent record store in Fells Point, rummaging through its shelves looking for items for his museum.

"Impressive would be an understatement. Vintage vinyl records, event announcements, promotional posters, placards, DVDs, CDs, video tapes, music catalogs, biographies, and more provided artistic expression and solace for him," she said. "It is truly a museum and testament of his love for this music."

Last year, Mr. Scott began opening his "music museum" to the public, family members said.

"While he adored his wife, children, grandchildren, family and friends, his passion was music, music, music and the sounds of Motown," said Ms. Claiborne.

For more than 33 years until retiring in 2000, Mr. Scott was an MTA bus driver assigned to the No. 44 and No. 36 lines. Earlier, he had worked as a phlebotomist at Sinai Hospital.

"He walked down Lenton Avenue, where he lived, to Northern Parkway, where he caught his bus and went to work," his granddaughter said.


"He exuded a welcoming and kind spirit to everyone he met, and he was recognized by the MTA many times for his exemplary service to his patrons, most notable was his commitment to helping the disabled."

For being particularly helpful to blind transit bus riders, Mr. Scott was honored by the National Federation of the Blind and was awarded a governor's citation by Gov. Parris N. Glendening at the time of his retirement.

Mr. Scott was a member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300.

In addition to his musical interests, Mr. Scott was an avid boxing fan, and enjoyed hosting sports parties and events for family and friends at his home. His favorite boxer was Muhammad Ali, and he also collected memorabilia relating to his life in and out of the ring.

He also liked traveling and taking cruises to the islands, family members said.

Mr. Scott was a longtime member of Zion Baptist Church, 1700 N. Caroline St., where funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to his wife and granddaughter, Mr. Scott is survived by his daughter, Sheila Lanae Peterkin of Woodlawn; his mother, Ruth Tyree of Loch Raven; a sister, Ella Frazier of East Baltimore; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter. His son, Paul Wesley Scott Jr., died in 1991.