BOYNTON BEACH — Their first restaurant back in 1936 was a tiny place in Briny Breezes. “I think it was only about four seats,” remembers Dorothy McNeice, somewhat of a local historian.
“You could come in and get sandwiches and of course they were famous for their mile-high lemon pie.”
McNeice even has a postcard. Somewhere.
Through the years, the restaurant long known as Lucille and Otley’s — named after the wife and husband who ran it — grew, and grew. In its heyday over on Federal Highway in Boynton Beach, the faithful would drive from as far away as Miami to line up for a meal inside the place with the fantastic service and great food.
Otley Scott died 10 years ago, but his beloved business partner carried on with life.
Now she is gone, too.
Marie Lucille Scott died Jan. 10 after a stroke. She was 98.
“She’d do her baking early in the morning and seat people in the afternoon,” remembers longtime friend and caretaker Carole Volkman, who moved to Florida in 1968 to escape the cold Canadian winters and began working at the restaurant almost immediately. “She was always a people person.”
Born in 1913 outside Atlanta, Mrs. Scott moved to Florida when she was in high school.
Within the decade, she’d married Otley Scott and the couple had set off on their first business adventure: the small pie shop. Within a decade, they needed a bigger place and moved right next door in Briny.
Sure, you could grab a bite of lunch, but it was always the pies that people loved.
Apple and pecan. Coconut cream and chocolate. Lucille Scott did all the baking and then she’d put on some fresh clothes and serve hungry customers another family specialty: creamed chicken over biscuits.
Volkman said sometimes they’d serve several thousands meals a day.
The Scotts retired in 1978, handing the business at 1021 Federal Highway to their son, Jerry. Two years later, he was lost at sea during an ambitious sailing excursion.
One of the Scott’s grandchildren took over for a while, but the small-town success story had run its course and Lucille and Otley’s closed in the summer of 1998.
When Volkman thinks back, she loves picturing her starchy waitressing uniform. They were pink, with gathered skirts, and the short-sleeved blouses were adorned with big buttons and little rosebuds.
The rosebuds had special meaning since Lucille Scott would cut fresh roses from her own garden and put them on the tables almost every day.
Volkman worked at the restaurant for 32 years and remembers both the Scotts as generous and loving, but it was Mrs. Scott she grew most fond of.
One of Volkman’s favorite stories is the day she was hired. Volkman had just moved to Florida — she hadn’t even seen the ocean yet — when she saw the line outside Lucille and Otley’s and stopped to check things out. Lucille offered her a job, right then and there, instructing her to put on one of those pink uniforms and report for duty that very afternoon.
“I needed a job, so I did it, never realizing where we would end,” Volkman says now.
And where it ended was this. The old restaurant became a city senior center, which today bustles with plenty of activity. Lucille Scott used to be a regular for the Thursday afternoon dances. After Otley Scott died in 2002, the family reached out to Carole Volkman, asking her to help care for their mother.
“Her daughter called me and asked if I’d like to come stay with her,” remembers Volkman, “We could always talk about things that happened at the restaurant, and I always felt good about that,” she said. Volkman lived with Lucille Scott as her caretaker for the next 10 years.
Lucille Scott “was a remarkable lady,” says Volkman.
Lucille Scott is survived by two daughters, Julie Kemp of Boynton Beach; and Celia Weatherhead of Moreland Hills, Ohio. Besides her children, Mrs. Scott is survived by two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is being planned at the Ocean Club of Florida in Ocean Ridge, possibly for a date in late March, Volkman said