Instead of organizing a wedding, Darrell “DJ” Scott Jr.’s family is planning a funeral.
He died Aug. 1 with his fiancee, Abigail Bohstedt, in a six-vehicle crash near Ottawa as they drove to a family reunion in her native Iowa. Nov. 12 was supposed to be their wedding day.
“They’d just gotten engaged a few weeks ago,” said his mother, Kimberly Scott. “They were so in love.”
They were a striking pair. Abigail, 25, was a 6-foot-tall churchgoing redhead from Grinnell, Iowa. When an older man she knew was in ill health, she was one of the first to go for testing to see if she could be a kidney donor, said her mother, Beth Bohstedt.
DJ, 26, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall, had dreads, topaz eyes and a love of Chinese food, TV’s Dragon Ball Z, video games and anime conventions. He earned a chemistry degree from Beloit College and retained a laidback attitude that endeared him to the parents and kids he knew growing up in Beverly.
“He was just such an easy, smiling baby,” his mother said. “He would make you want to have another child.”
The only thing he disliked was formal wear. “His idea of getting dressed up was to put on a button-down shirt with raggedy blue jeans and flip-flops,” said his father, Darrell Scott.
After a day of working as a chemist at Clean Harbors waste disposal, he would change into comfortable clothes to play Mario Kart, Super Smash Brothers and Pokemon, according to his younger brothers, Gary and Chris.
Once, when a bunch of kids played at his house, DJ noticed some were laughing at a boy who couldn’t master a video game.
“DJ took this kid to another room and taught him to play,” his father said. “He comes back to the room, and this kid is competing” — so successfully that others complained.
DJ told them, “I just gave him an opportunity to play.”
He learned to defend his point of view in a family where debate and questions were encouraged, according to his father, a longtime teacher. “It was a constant conversation about life,” Darrell Scott said. When DJ and his brothers were little and they asked, “Why is the sky blue?” the Scotts took them to the library to research the answer.
After graduating from Whitney Young, Mr. Scott entered Beloit, where he met his fiancee. The campus is reeling from the deaths, said Bill Conover, director of Beloit’s Spiritual Life Program. “These were two very well-loved figures,” he said.
Mr. Scott was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. It didn’t matter if it was “2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m.,” said Brian Robbins, a fraternity brother. “You had a problem, you had an issue, he was there for everyone.”
Once, as a prank, other frat members duct-taped DJ’s mattress to the ceiling, Robbins said. “He went to that person’s room when they were out and did the exact same thing.”
Abigail, who lived in Indiana, worked in admissions at Ivy Tech Community College in East Chicago.
“With her hair and Darrell’s complexion, she said they were going to have ginger-mocha babies,” her mother said. “I’m not going to have any ginger-mocha grandbabies.”
“We were all so happy,” DJ’s mother said. “They had such promise in life. They were so smart and so motivated and good kids.” Instead of flowers, his parents asked that friends consider donations to Make-a-Wish or the Darrell Scott Jr. and Abigail Bohstedt Scholarship Fund at Beloit College.
Abigail’s funeral took place in Grinnell. Some of her ashes are buried next to her grandparents in Iowa. On Saturday, “They’re bringing her ashes here so we can mix the ashes together,” his mother said.
‘We’re going to figure out where to scatter [them] so they’ll always be together,” Darrell Scott said.
In the crash, a semi loaded with gravel struck their car, setting off a chain reaction that also killed Octavio Vargas, a 34-year-old Warrenville father of three who was driving a truck hauling tires. Mr. Vargas is being buried in Michoacan, Mexico, according to Norris-Segert Funeral Home. Donald E. Breckenridge, driver of the semi that started the crash, was cited for failing to reduce speed.
Mr. Scott is also survived by his grandparents, Haywood and Earnestine Scott, and Barbara Townsend. His family will receive friends at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Columbanus Church, 331 E. 71st. His service is to begin at 11:30 a.m.
“You hope that your child will make an impact on people,” Kimberly Scott said. “This incident has opened up our eyes to how loved our children were.”
Their honeymoon was to have been at Disney World, Abigail’s mom said, because she loved Disney princesses, especially Ariel, another redhead.