‘First Lady’ Of Satellite Beach Accomplishes Life’s Mission
By Space Coast Daily // March 11, 2013
Volunteer Scotty Culp Leaves Legacy Of Service
BREVARD COUNTY • SATELLITE BEACH, FLORIDA – Life was a glorious ride for Kathleen Scott Robertson Culp, who accomplished more in 91 years that many will ever have the opportunity to attempt.
Born in Norwood, Mass. in May 1921 to Scottish immigrants Helen and Charles Robertson and was the fifth child of seven born to the family.
Per the custom of the time, each child was expected to help support the family and after graduation from Norwood High School, Kathleen worked as a nanny with much of her salary given to her parents to help pay the family’s bills during very difficult economic times.
Soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kathleen enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was designated as one of the first 7 WAVES to enter Naval Service.
She trained as a parachute rigger in 1942 at Lakehurst, N.J. before being transferred to Corpus Christi, Texas.
There Katheleen became affectionately known as “Scotty” because of her Scottish heritage and her middle name.
Female riggers were not allowed to jump out of airplanes like their male counterparts, but through sheer determination and perseverance, Scotty’s request was approved and in August 1944, she performed a 2,000-foot free fall parachute jump from a R4D plane, becoming the first WAVE and Rigger in the Navy to accomplish that feat. At the time of her jump, she was the only female to hold the rating PR1C as well.
In October 1944, Scotty married CPO Leo Culp who was a Jump Master at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and later that year she was honorably discharged from the Navy upon completion of her enlistment.
In 1946, Leo received orders to the Banana River Naval Air Station in Brevard County and over the next two years, the couple found this was where they wanted to live and raise a family.
When the Banana River Naval Air Station was deactivated and turned over to the U.S. Air Force, Leo applied for an interservice transfer and then ordered to the newly designated Patrick Air Force Base.
Through the 1950’s the Culps lived in Eau Gallie and Scotty worked full time as a freelance journalist and photographer for the Orlando Sentinel, but still found the time to be an active member of the American Legion, Eastern Star and helped Jimmy Moore with numerous fund-raising events, collecting food for the poor and establishing the Eau Gallie Little League.
Then in 1958, two life changing events happened to Scotty.
First she met Percy Hedgecock, the first mayor of Satellite Beach and second, the Culps became proud parents of twin sons, Ronnie and Rickie.
Percy was keenly aware of Scotty’s reputation as a community leader and volunteer and wanted the Culp’s to move beachside. He explained his vision of the city on the beach that he and his brothers were building and how it would be a great place to raise a family.
In late 1959, the Culp’s moved to Norwood Avenue in Satellite Beach and for the next 53 years, Scotty would establish her legacy as an unwavering, dedicated volunteer always happy to serve the city she so loved.
Scotty was involved for decades of loyal service to the city of Satellite Beach and Satellite High School and a complete listing of her accomplishments could fill a library.
A small example of her noteworthy endeavors and initiatives includes serving as the first Crossing Guard for Surfside Elementary; coordinator/photographer for the annual Founders Day Parade; Program Director for Pelican Beach Park; a member of the city’s Beautification Committee; founding the Recycle Program for Satellite High; Scotty Duty at Satellite High; Director of 21 Day Flag Salute; and working as a writer/photographer for the Beachcaster.
In 1996, Scotty received another incredible honor by being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch through the city of Satellite Beach.; She jogged along State Road A1A, torch in hand, with a big smile as she waved to the hundreds lining the street cheering her on.
Through the years, Scotty received numerous awards and accolades for her selfless service and dedication to the city and Satellite High School, but she said none meant more to her than the renaming of the Civic Center, City Hall and Hedgecock Brothers Field as the Scotty Culp Municipal Complex in 2005.
Scotty is a shining example of what a difference one person can make. She not only set an example for others to follow, she was the one that stepped in to help when others would not and did so with a smile.
Tireless and hardworking in all that she did, Scotty was driven by doing the right thing and making Satellite Beach a better place for all.
Never one to mix words, she lived by the Golden Rule and believed that a person’s character is measured by their actions, not their words.
She was a devoted, loving and caring mother, never missing a game, race, match or event that her sons were involved in.
As an undaunted volunteer, role model, mentor, and kind lady; Scotty was loved and admired by so many as she touched the lives of young and old alike.
Kathleen “Scotty” Culp, “The First Lady of Satellite Beach” passed away at her home on Friday, March 8 at the age of 91.
Beach Funeral Home of Indian Harbour Beach will host a visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 and all family and friends are welcome.
She will be laid to rest next to her husband and parents at Florida Memorial Gardens on Friday, March 15 in a private family service.
Online condolences can be made at www.beachfuneralhome.com.