Scott Nieboer Built an Extraordinary Life


My brother-in-law Scott died unexpectedly this week. He’s the husband of my sister Polly, who started construction class with me in the fall. We are all devastated.

Scott loved the idea of Polly’s learning construction. Building and fixing things came easily to him. Sitting around the house telling stories these last few days, someone remembered the time Scott, a trader of complex financial securities, set out to build a slate roof on his house. They remembered the ingenious hydroelectric system at his cabin in Canada and a plan to eradicate an invasive species of shrimp from Flathead Lake in his native Montana. Scott’s obituary narrates an extraordinary life of intellect and adventure. He is pictured here holding a wombat, on a recent trip to Australia.

Spending time with Scott’s family this week, it has become clear where he got his confident self-reliance. His heartbroken parents Carol and Bob, who came from Montana for the funeral, had not been in Scott and Polly’s house a minute before Bob had rewired a broken light fixture. 

While searching for light bulbs, Scott’s brother Gary found a rusty lock with three numbers hand-written on the tag. 

“This is so Scott,” he said. Then he explained that Scott had found the old lock with no key, so he watched how-to videos until he figured out how to determine the combination. 

“It was so Scott to think, ‘Hey, there’s a lock. It must be able to open.’ “

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7 thoughts on “Scott Nieboer Built an Extraordinary Life

  1. This is a beautiful tribute to Scott. I never met him but I knew if he joined your family he was a very special fellow and, by the time I finished your description of Scott using simple but powerful images, I admire him and wish that he had been a pal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad the Nelsons are such a supportive clan. It is a tragedy to lose such a young man who could unlock todays’ mysteries, just as he was beginning a new life with Polly; and leaving college-aged Chase with no parents. We all grieve with you & hope you can find healing and hope in the days to come.

    Liked by 1 person

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