FOREST HILLS – Kolleen T. Scott Begley, 54, died peacefully at home Wednesday evening, Dec. 7, 2022, holding the hand of her husband, Alan D. Begley, during a weeks-long parade of loving family and friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, her father-in-law Arthur (2015), mother-in-law Mary Lou (2021) and her chemo buddy Elizabeth Anne Nealon (Sept. 14).
Born Dec. 18, 1967, and raised beside the Kettle Moraine State Forest in rural Kewaskum, WI, she completed her last three secondary school years at Osceola High School when her family relocated to St. Petersburg, FL in 1983. Learning and growing through this uprooting as a teen, she earned an associate degree in Business Management at St. Petersburg Junior College and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Florida.
Kolleen worked professionally at Davit Master Boat Lifts in St. Pete/Sarasota, starting a career which culminated as company controller for Chinquapin Developers and Builders in Cashiers, NC, handling their accounting and marketing.
Kolleen married Alan on Valentine’s Day 1997 in St. Petersburg. Together they dreamed of, designed, built and moved to a home in the mountains. With canines Ubu, Gizmo and most recently Kodah, they invited friends and family to share the beauty of both their scenic view and their enthusiastic hospitality. They spent some holidays delivering home-baked treats to animal shelters, others hiking and camping. They sought quality cuisine and doted on family and friends in need. Last February they celebrated 25 years of marriage.
After years of participating in local planning and government in Jackson County and the Village of Forest Hills, Kolleen became Mayor Begley on Dec. 3, 2013, a position she held into December 2019. Under her leadership the Village researched and updated ordinances and zoning practices, though one of her proudest accomplishments was organizing twice-a-year community roadside trash pickups which gathered neighbors to strengthen the sense of community.
She reveled in reading and exploring psychology, nature and spirituality. Her passion for responsible government and public service supported people rather than alienating others. She traveled from Nicaragua to Montreal, the Pacific Northwest to New England, and on the trails and waters near home in and around the Smoky Mountains. In September Kolleen, her elementary school friend Devona Marshall, and their husbands toured London, England.
Displaying and living the motto carpe diem by “seizing the day” at every opportunity, upon learning how short her Earthly time would be, Kolleen expressed boldly her readiness to “open that door” to whatever experience happens beyond death.
Kolleen and Alan have been devoted Godparents to Lauren Jones. Other survivors include Kolleen’s parents Dennis and Arlene (Ziarkowski) Scott, siblings Ken (Brian Bigler) of Mt. Horeb, WI; Kevin (Amelia Carbajal Peralta) of Covington, KY; Karin of St. Petersburg; nephew Samuel and nieces Khloe of St. Petersburg and Kaley (Trent) Edington of Shelbyville, KY; and many uncles, aunts, cousins, in-laws and friends spread across the United States.
Her family heartily thanks the caring and attentive staff at Hope Cancer Center and Four Seasons Hospice. Family and friends plan a celebration of life at noon Sunday, Dec. 18 — Kolleen’s 55th birthday — at the Wells Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 296 N. Main Street, Waynesville. Arrangements and live stream of the service are posted at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.