Everything I know, I know only because I love.

Scott Koski passed away on Thanksgiving Day, surrounded by family and lots of food, just as he would have liked it.  This was his last gift to us to remind us to be grateful for all the love and people in our lives. In the months leading up to his death, he was showered with love from around the world. People came from near and far to spend a little more time with him and feel that special connection he was able to make with everyone he knew.

He is survived by his wife, Betina, his sons, Chris and Kyle, his mother, Kae, and his sisters Anne, Kristin, and Lynne. He was predeceased by his father, Ted.

Scott lived a truly amazing life. Born in Iowa in 1964, he lived in New Jersey and Mountain Brook, Alabama, where he played football, basketball, and baseball before he graduated in 1983. He then went on to play football for Princeton.

At Princeton he was fondly known as ‘Ski. Those who knew him then will remember his cowboy boots, cowboy hat, big jean jacket and even bigger smile. He married his college sweetheart, Betina, and the two began their life together.

Although he was born in Iowa, his heart was Brazilian. When asked to describe his time in Brazil, he often likened it to Forest Gump. He helped elect a president, aided residents of favelas, and became deeply involved in social change engine Ashoka. He also learned to dance a mean samba and greet those he loved with a big bear hug,

Scott was kind, brave, generous, funny, loving, adventurous, perceptive, strong willed and driven by serving others.  He brought all these qualities to everything he did, especially raising Chris and Kyle.  They were the joys of his life. He also found time to be of service to so many groups - Intercambio, The People's Clinic, Boulder Housing Partners and most importantly, the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, where he found his second family. 

Never one to back down from a challenge, at the ripe old age of 42 be decided to go to medical school where he found his calling as a child psychiatrist.  Those of us who have been the recipients of his wise counsel and open-hearted listening for years were not surprised.  We will miss him dearly but he will forever live on in our hearts.  

He could still beat his son Kyle at basketball at 54.


In lieu of cut flowers, which fade...

please consider giving to the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and let them know it is in Scott's honor.  Scott lent time and strength to the rescue for over 15 years. The group provides essential rescue services to over 150 calls a year and no one is ever charged for their services.  And the deep friends he made through the rescue group were with him night and day through his illness helping him and his family through it all.

We are also creating Scott’s Garden in the spring, a space in nature where people can remember the love, generosity, and good advice of our dear Scott. He asked that instead of a formal memorial, we celebrate his life as he celebrated so many things through the years - with a BBQ in his backyard with friends, family, laughs and lots of hugs.

If you would like to join us to plant the garden in the spring and/or you have ideas for the space, or you would like to join our memorial BBQ please sign up here and we will reach out to you with more details in the spring.  If you would like to donate to the supply fund for the garden, you can give here.

Posted by Betsey Martens on 18th December 2018
I feel so lucky to have known Scott and been a witness to, and partner for, his vision to improve health and education opportunities for low income children in Boulder. His tireless energy gave rise to the now very successful Boulder Housing Partners Foundation, and I am forever grateful for his compassionate tenacity. It was a dream he wouldn't let go of. I liked him instantly. His spirit casts a very large glow, and his legacy will live on in the good work we do every day at the BHP Foundation. Much love and many blessings to the Koski family.
Posted by Leslie D on 18th December 2018
Please accept my sincere condolences and know that your loved one is in God's memory with a hope of a resurrection. John 5:28,29
Posted by Susan Lurie on 14th December 2018
I was so sad to hear about Scott passing away. I had the good fortune to supervise him during his residency and child fellowship. Scott was a very remarkable, and memorable trainee. I think what I remember most about him was his broad smile and good humor. I don't think I can recall an occasion when he was in a bad mood, or didn't have something positive to say. He never complained about having to take on an extra work load, and went out of his way to support others - including his attendings! At times it wasn't quite clear who was teaching who. We had lots of time to chat and get to know each other. He talked often of his experience in Brazil, Betina, and both his boys. I learned a lot about climbing! His sunny disposition and genuine interest in people was much appreciated by his patients. In fact, if there was a particularly difficult patient, it often seemed best to send Scott in first - knowing that it wouldn't be long before the irritable young person felt understood and was willing to engage with the rest of us. It was a pleasure being his supervisor, but I especially enjoyed and respected Scott as a human being. I'm sad his career was cut short - he would have been greatly valued as a psychiatrist in the community. Betina and Scott's sons are in my thoughts. I look forward to participating in the garden project in the spring. Susan Lurie MD
Posted by Kimberly Kelsey on 14th December 2018
We were so lucky to recruit Scott Koski to our child and adolescent psychiatry training program at the University of Colorado. He brought his warmth, ability to be present, creativity and joy of life to his work with children and families, as well as his relationships with colleagues and staff. Faculty are tasked with teaching our trainees but Dr. Koski had so much to offer us! He enriched our learning environment and we were all the better from our interactions with Dr. Koski. I have been approached by so many people in and out of our department, who were blessed to cross paths with Dr. Koski. Typical of Dr. Koski, these are people from across seniority and discipline and they share their stories about his ability to brighten lives by even brief interactions. Dr. Koski made a remarkable impact in his time with University of Colorado Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training programs. An award in Dr Koski's honor was created to be given annually to a child and adolescent psychiatrist in training who best exemplifies the qualities of passion for clinical work, playfulness, authenticity, hope and compassion for both patients and colleagues, qualities that challenge us to be better physicians and humans. Sincerely, Kim Kelsay, M.D. Training Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Colorado
Posted by Kristin Harris on 13th December 2018
Scott and I first met in medical school, then I had the joy of getting to know Scott much better when we went through our Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship together. One of our other fellowship classmates, Libby Erickson, spear-headed the effort to develop an award in Scott's name that will be given annually to the fellow who best exemplifies the amazing qualities that Scott embodied during his career as a physician. I will copy the description of the award here: "The Scott Koski Fellows award This award is established to acknowledge the joy, creativity, skill and passion Dr. Koski brought to his work as a child and adolescent fellow while also building and maintaining community. Throughout the rigors of medical training and practice, Dr. Koski has shared a genuine sense of hope for every patient he treats. His authenticity, playfulness, kindness and acceptance creates a safe place where patients can heal. When needed, Dr. Koski expands the clinical space from the office to the basketball hoop or front lawn to join his patient in staring at clouds or throwing the football. Dr. Koski's ability to be present in all interactions with patients, staff, colleagues and friends enriches the lives of all who cross his path. This is captured by his favorite quote by Tolstoy, “Everything I know, I know only because of love,” Dr. Koski embodies the highest ideals that draw us to the profession, namely humanity and compassion for those who are suffering and for each other. This award is to be given to a fellow who embodies the qualities of passion for clinical work, playfulness, authenticity, hope and compassion for patients and colleagues, qualities that challenge us to be better physicians and humans. " I will always miss Scott's friendship and his perspective on life and on the work that we do, and the world will miss his contributions to psychiatry and lives of the patients he impacted.
Posted by Harrison Miller on 12th December 2018
I first met Scott when he was a freshman in college, and I his senior "RA". I learned early that his tenderness belied any stereotype one might apply to the big dude football player in boots. What a joy it was, over the years since, to observe Scott's maturation into an extraordinary man. I do mean extraordinary. To me, there are three things that, together, made Scott stand apart from the vast majority of people I've known. The first was his tenderness and kindness -- the graceful and sincere way he took an interest in you and made you feel loved and taken care of. The second was his hunger for growth and self-improvement, especially in service of others. Choosing at midlife to take the long arduous path toward becoming a psychiatrist, and actually succeeding? One in a million people would do that. Over time I came to appreciate a third extraordinary trait about Scott, which I suppose the first two helped lead him to: his wisdom. This was nowhere so clear as in the conversations we had about his illness and the near certainty of his early death. Of course there was fear and there was sadness, but what I kept hearing about from Scott was his gratitude. He was so grateful for his beloved family and friends, and for all the other blessings of his life. He sought to persuade me that, though his life should have been much longer, he had experienced more love and goodness in half a life than most people do in a complete life. He was surely right about that. Extraordinarily wise, extraordinarily committed to growth and service, extraordinarily kind. Scott left us way too soon; but he left a shining example of what a good life can be. I am deeply grateful for having known him, and for the inspiration he still provides.
Posted by Betina Koski on 11th December 2018
A few weeks before Scott died I asked him this question: what is a sign I can look for if you want to let me know you are still here with me after you are gone? How will you communicate with me? He said, "Look for random acts of kindness." Yesterday, I went into the Merrill Lynch office to do some business. There was a lady at the front desk who was a notary. I asked her if she could notarize something besides the bank document we were working on. She said she could only notarize bank things and we went back to work. As I was leaving, she said, " I'm not suppose to do this but I'll notarize your other document." Up until this point she hadn't mentioned Scott - I didn't even know she knew him. But as I thanked her she said, "Scott was such a nice man. He knew I loved chocolate so he would stop by the office sometimes just to give me a chocolate bar." A sign from Scott - his random act of kindness giving birth to a new act of kindness. Thank you, Felice, for bringing Scott back for that moment!
Posted by Sarah Marshall on 10th December 2018
I am so grateful to have crossed paths with Scott because of rescue, and to have had him at our wedding. I will always remember him having a voice like a hug, and providing a sense of balance and calm on our team while being a skilled rescuer. Somehow, one of the memories that stands out in my mind was when we had a particularly sad rescue call, and Scott was a natural choice to help comfort the spouse of the person we'd gone to rescue because he was just so good at helping people. I remember everyone staring at each other with wide eyes (or hiding behind the truck), not knowing what to say or do. Scott quietly walked over to the spouse with a blanket and a hug, and with few words and just being there to listen, seemed to bring some peace to the whole scene. I hope that all of us can do the same for Scott's family now, as he would have done for any of us, and even a complete stranger. We will miss him dearly!
Posted by Kim Green on 8th December 2018
I met Scott and Betina when our boys were in preschool, but then connected with him through the years at Choice middle and dinners in Winter Park. I always knew he led an impactful life, that he was a devoted Dad, kind, wise, smart and flawed. That his life choices seemed extra ordinary. That he connected deeply with people. I really know this though, through my closer friendship with Betina. I'm so sorry B. I know your strength, wisdom, kindness were the underpinnings to Scott's, and your, remarkable life. That his choice of you as his life partner was the best proof I have of Scott's character. I know you will miss him terribly. Sending you my love. Let's hike soon. Kim
Posted by Daniel M on 29th November 2018
I wasn’t especially close to Scott while I was at Stanford, but his warmth and generosity were something to behold. He treated me as though I were his closest, dearest friend when we were together. I always regretted not knowing him better. I'm saddened by the knowledge that I won't have that opportunity. My life is the poorer for it.
Posted by Mike Woodhouse on 29th November 2018
My wife Mona has a plaque that I see everyday. "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" I am confident that Scott lived life well. God Bless the Koski family.
Posted by Roberto Freitas on 24th November 2018
Nunca esqueceremos aquela pessoa alegre e sempre disposta a fazer de tudo que convidávamos. Não tive a oportunidade de conviver muito com vcs mas o pouco que estivemos juntos vão ficar em nossas lembranças para sempre. Amamos muito vcs e sempre estarão em nossos corações. Até algum dia.

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