Dickinson City Councilman H Scott Apley died Wednesday while hospitalized with COVID-19.
Friends gathered later that night at Paul Hopkins Park to honor Apley, who was 45 and left behind his wife, Melissa, and infant son, Reid.
It’s unknown whether Apley had been vaccinated.
“No matter who you were, where you were, Scott was a light,” said Selina Sauter, who helped organize the event.
Those who attended spoke about Apley’s deep faith, calling him a “spiritual warrior” who was always willing to help those in need.
“He put smiles on people’s faces,” League City Councilman Hank Dugie said at the gathering. “That’s just who he was.”
Multiple people spoke about Apley’s willingness to listen to everyone regardless of their political beliefs. Apley was a longtime member of the Republican Party.
“The way he made us feel, I don’t think we will ever forget that,” Dugie said.
A CITY COUNCILMAN
Apley was elected to Position No. 1 in November 2020. It was his second time running for the city council, after an unsuccessful campaign in 2019.
Despite serving on the council for less than a year, it didn’t take him long to leave a positive impression on those he worked with.
“You couldn’t beat him as a person,” Councilman Louis Decker said earlier in an interview. “Excellent.”
It was campaigning for the city council that introduced Decker to Apley.
“He was a very dedicated person, would get involved with questions, would ask questions,” he said.
Dickinson Mayor Sean Skipworth also met Apley through the campaign trail.
“He was somebody who cared a lot,” Skipworth said earlier in an interview. “During the freeze, a firefighter was injured, and he took the time to call and ask about them and send a letter to the family.”
But Apley was more than just a city councilman. Decker remembered seeing Apley and his wife around the city multiple times, always with their new baby.
“Wherever they went, that’s where the baby went,” he said.
The couple had tried for several years to have a child, and Apley was thrilled to announce last year that they were expecting, Sauter said. Their son was born in February, and Apley quickly became a proud father, showing off pictures of the baby to those around him, she said.
“He was over the moon,” she said.
It’s Apley’s son who has struck a particular chord with Skipworth, whose own father died when Skipworth was young. He grew up without knowing his biological father, Skipworth said.
“I really had that thought that his son is going to be in the same situation,” he said.
But friends at the prayer gathering vowed to make sure the child would grow up knowing the man his father was.
Jovial was how Pat McGinnis remembered Apley. McGinnis, chair of the Galveston County Republican Party, had known Apley for close to a decade, and the two had worked together as members of the Republican Party and often discussed politics.
To McGinnis, Apley was friendly and always willing to help.
“That combination made him enjoyable to be around,” McGinnis said.
In addition to working with the local Republican Party, Apley also had been elected to the State Republican Executive Committee, where he represented district 11.
The group released a statement following Apley’s death asking for prayers for the family.
“Please join me in lifting the Apley family up in prayer,” Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi said in the press release. “We will miss Scott deeply but find comfort knowing he is at peace in the arms of our Savior.”
A GoFundMe page was created for the family after Apley was hospitalized. As of Wednesday evening, the page had raised almost 60 percent of its $35,000 goal.
What will happen in Dickinson has yet to be decided, but the city’s charter calls for a special election, Skipworth said. He anticipates it will be held in November.