Scott Wilson, Founder of North East Trees, Dies

Eagle Rock’s foremost green visionary collapses while cutting flowers from a tree in his garden.

Scott Wilson, a longtime Eagle Rock resident, retired teacher and landscape architect who was instrumental in the greening of large parts of the neighborhood, died Monday morning from a weekend fall sustained while cutting flowers from a tree in the garden of his Olson Street home. He was 89.

Shortly after the incident Saturday, paramedics rushed Wilson to Glendale Adventist Hospital, where he never regained consciousness, said his daughter Christine Richards. He passed away peacefully at the hospital, with his family present by his side, she added.

In 1989 Wilson founded North East Trees, a nonprofit environmental group devoted to planting at least five trees a day for the rest of his life—more than 50,000 so far—as well as ensuring jobs in the green industry for at-risk youth.

A keen mentor, Wilson was a constant—and ever-cheerful—organizer of tree planting drives in Eagle Rock and beyond. Among the numerous trees he is credited with planting is a string of oaks about 30 years old in Occidental College that are scheduled to be cut down to make way for a state-of-the-art solar array project on the campus.

Some 20 years ago, Wilson also planted many of the trees that line Townsend Avenue today.

“Everybody knew my dad and everybody has a story about him,” said Richards. “He has positively impacted so many people's lives and will be dearly missed.”

A tribute to Wilson, a celebration of his life, is planned from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, November 27, at the on Hermosa Avenue.

Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the date on which a tribute to Scott Wilson is planned. The correct date is November 27—not November 12. Some other details from the original version have also been edited out at the Wilson family's request to protect their privacy.

Ajay Singh November 10, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Thomas D. Wright, a senior civil engineer with OC Waste & Recycling in Orange County, wishes to share this fond memory of his for Scott from their days together as student and teacher at Eagle Rock High School: "When I came to ERHS in the 7th grade in 1959 I had Mr. Wilson as my Jr. Agriculture teacher. My group got to plant radishes. Mr. Wilson was a baseball fan and the Dodgers were in the world series that year so he let us listen to the game on transistor radios when we were outside digging, planting or watering (they still had day games back then) and sometime we even listened during class time for few minutes if there was something exciting going on. He was a good teacher and a fair teacher and I looked forward to his class every day. I was fortunate to have started my 7th grade year in that way."
Gail Gang November 11, 2011 at 12:12 PM
Scott was "the older guy" enrolled in our MLA class at Cal Poly Pomona in the mid 1980s. With his intelligence, drive, optimism, natural curiosity, and abiding kindness, he perhaps unwittingly became a role model for our class of mostly twenty-somethings. How very lucky we were. Dear Scott, rest well now in the heavenly treetops.
Joel Miller November 12, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Mr. Wilson was my horticulture teacher at North Hollywood High School back in the 1970's. We used to call him the "Energizer Bunny" because he had more energy than all of us put together. I was part of a special summer program at the Horticulture unit in the summer of 1973 and he taught us the value of hard work but with a light touch and a sparkle in his eyes. He truly was passionate about horticulture and the environment and that definitely rubbed off on the rest of us. Mr. Wilson was one of those individuals that has made a difference in so many lives and his legacy lives on. Thank you Mr. Wilson, may you rest in peace.
Henk Friezer November 12, 2011 at 10:35 PM
Just heard about Scott.I was truly stunned, I recently saw him at the Hall of Fame inductions and he was in his usual good spirits. Over the years I photographed numerous events in which Scott was involved. The word being INVOLVED, he loved the community and showed it with the imprint he left behind. He will truly never be forgotten. I personally would tike to see a street named after him (maybe the cul de sac near the his horticultural center). Although I was sorry to hear about his passing, I am glad it happened while he was doing what he loved best working with trees! I'm sure he would not have wanted to go in any other way. RIP Scott, ER will not forget you.
YAHEL RAYMOND November 14, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Like Mr. Miller (in his comments) I was in the summer 1973 agriculture program at North Hollywood High School and have some of the fondest memories of my school years from that time. I have thought of Mr Wilson many times over the years and was saddened to hear of his passing. Reading of his activities and efforts since his retirement was heart warming. He was truly a wonderful man and will be greatly missed. YahEl Raymond


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