MENOMONIE (WQOW) - John Scott Kingzett, though everyone called him Scott, passed away on Thursday after battling COVID-19. He was a well-known retired firefighter with Menomonie Fire and Rescue.
He and is wife Jane got married in 1968. Not long after, Scott was drafted into the Marine Corps, when he was then stationed in North Carolina. There, he and Jane welcomed their daughter Julie into the world. When Scott's service was completed, the family came to Western Wisconsin, where they made their home in Menomonie.
In 1977, Scott began working as a paid, on-call firefighter.
"He loved it. He loved every part of being a firefighter," Jane said.
While it may not have been his day job, it was his passion.
"He dedicated a lot of years of his life to this community and this department and was very selfless," said Andy Benrud, the battalion chief of the Menomonie Fire Department.
Scott retired from the department in 2005, not by choice but by reaching the required retirement age. However, he continued to stop by on Saturdays to say hello to the team and catch up. Unfortunately, Scott had to stop making his Saturday trips when the pandemic began.
Jane said they had mostly stayed home since the spring, but on Friday, Oct. 30, her husband came down with a fever. By Tuesday, his condition had only gotten worse. His condition declined, and he was taken to a hospital in La Crosse. On Thursday, Nov. 12, Scott passed away at the age of 73.
"I wasn't able to be there but our daughter was allowed in so she was able to facetime me so I could at least say my goodbyes," Jane said. "It was very difficult being isolated, quarantining at home and not being around family who could give you a hug."
Jane has been quarantined at home the entire time, because she also contracted COVID-19, though she has since recovered.
She urges the community to practice safe COVID-19 measures so that no one has to go through the same heartbreak.
"I don't want anyone else to go through what we've been through," she said.
Benrud said there will always be something missing in the Menomonie Fire Department.
"Scott has left a legacy with this department and its members that people will remember for a long time," Benrud said.