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Downtown Santa Rosa fixture Brad Scott remembered as renaissance man

Anyone who has spent time on downtown Santa Rosa's main east-west street through much of the past 35 years or so has probably spotted, spoken to or avoided eye contact with Brad Scott.

Perhaps more likely, they've heard the seismic laugh that rolled from Scott, a 1972 Piner High School grad known for his steady, short-pants presence on Fourth Street.

"I think he got thrown out of here because he laughed so loud," patron Duane Rhodes said Thursday at Peet's Coffee & Tea at Fourth and D streets.

Rhodes was among many downtown regulars, workers and shop owners startled by news that Scott was found dead Wednesday in his Fifth Street apartment.

The Sonoma County Coroner's Office is investigating, but Scott's landlord said it appears he collapsed from natural causes.

Scott was 60 and by no means famous. But along Fourth Street at the core of his hometown, he was a fixture admired for his upbeat, agreeable nature and intriguing mix of passions.

He was a Jehovah's Witness sidewalk missionary, a former cowboy, a racehorse nutritional consultant and a wiz at polishing out the scratches that vandals etch into window glass. At one time he doled out samples of a quite-good vegetarian chili he hoped he might market.

"He was kind of a Renaissance man," said Bernie Schwartz, the longtime owner of California Luggage.

In recent years, Scott was largely without work and, for the most part, without money. But he didn't complain, and he certainly didn't ask for handouts.

"He was just always positive and happy. There are so many of us downtown who just loved the guy," said attorney Pat Grattan of the Old Courthouse Square law firm of Geary Shea O'Donnell Grattan & Mitchell. "And the remarkable thing is, he didn't have anything."

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