Sunset Surf

Mary Louisa Scott

October 31, 1927 ~ August 27, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old


Mary Louisa Scott, 95, died on August 27. The daughter of pioneer druggists Shelby and Luisa Gutierrez Smith, she lived her entire life in Fort Lauderdale. When she was born on October 31, 1927, there was only a winter-season sanatorium in town, and no hospital, and so she was born in her grandmother’s house in Holguin, Cuba. Until the late 1930s, she and her mother were the only Spanish-speakers in town, and a dozen different Cuban cousins took turns living in the Smith home as Mary Lou was growing up. She attended St. Anthony Catholic School from 1932 to 1945, graduating from old St. Anthony High, and from the then-new Barry College for Women in Miami, Class of 1949. She was a college beauty queen, Barry’s representative in Miami’s Royal Poinciana Festival.

Besides traveling frequently to Cuba, Mary Lou worked in her parents’ Smith’s Drugstores, from the time she was old enough to help out until the last store was sold in 1983; she and her brother Shelby were the owners the final twenty years. The first store, one of just three or four shops on Las Olas Boulevard east of the new “Federal Aid Highway,” predated such landmarks as the Riverside Hotel, and was considered “east of town,” but since the townspeople knew all the merchants from Brickell Avenue to the federal highway she was permitted the range of the town. One Saturday in 1934, her mother found her in the Sunset Theatre on Andrews Avenue, having sat with another seven-year-old through hours of movie matinees in a theater filled only with Seminole Indians.

She was married 60 years to Robert C. Scott, until his death in 2013. She proudly raised four children, volunteered in Girls Scouts, the Home & School Association, the Junior Service League, and church organizations. She supported her grandchildren at all their after-school activities, and traveled with one to Spain and another to Ireland. Late in her life she returned with her sons to her birthplace in Cuba, her first return in 65 years to the island of all her childhood vacations.

Mary Lou was full of motherly advice, but never harsh. She was devoted to an ever-growing range of friends and relatives and their children, and opened her home to as many as 15 college Spring Breakers at a time.

She maintained close friendships with many childhood friends, and was a regular attendee at the luncheons of the Pioneer Women of Fort Lauderdale. In recent years, she was sought out for interviews on her early days in Fort Lauderdale, and on Barry College (now University), and on the small local Catholic community of her youth. She remained active until God called her to her eternal reward.

Mary Lou was preceded in death by her husband, their daughter Sister Mary Arlene Scott, O.P., and brother, Shelby Smith. She is survived by her children Patrick (June), Gregory, and Julianne (Jack) Cleary, and grandchildren Austin Scott, Brian Cleary, and Mary Kate (David) Satava.

There will be a visitation at Baird Case Funeral Home, 4343 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, on September 6, from 5 to 8 p.m., and a funeral Mass at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 4595 Bayview Drive, Thursday, September 7 at 12:30 p.m., reception to follow. She will be laid to rest at Our Lady Queen of Heaven cemetery later this year.

In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations to the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society or the charity of your choice.


September 6, 2023

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Baird-Case Jordan-Fannin Funeral Home
4343 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Funeral Mass
September 7, 2023

12:30 PM
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church (Bayview Drive, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)


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