When Mikel O'Brien heard about the shooting at the building where her husband, Douglas A. Scruton, worked, she repeatedly, frantically called his cellphone. "I kept waiting and waiting for him to call back," she said. "But he never did."
Instead, she got a call she didn't want.
On Tuesday afternoon, hours after the news broke that nine people were killed by a gunman at a Manchester beer and wine wholesaler, a detective called to tell O'Brien that her husband was among the dead.
Scruton, 56, was just months away from retirement, O'Brien said, after working nearly three decades for Hartford Distributors. Scruton, a Teamster, lived in Manchester during the week, working on the warehouse dock, and went to Middleton, N.H., on the weekends to be with O'Brien at the house where he would have retired.
"He was a basic, regular blue-collar guy and I loved him, and I'm so sad he's gone," O'Brien said. "I'm going to miss him every single day. I'm just glad he kissed me goodbye when I saw him last."
O'Brien and Scruton lived in Manchester before O'Brien moved to New Hampshire. The couple had often spent weekends swimming in Silver Lake, hiking outdoors, caring for their cats and their dog, Dave. During the week, Scruton was a dedicated employee, friends and family say. He also gave to charity and had been a Big Brother, they said.
"He had a smile for everybody," said Gary Hoffman, Scruton's brother-in-law. "Nobody disliked Dougy."
Reports from the scene have indicated that the shooter made complaints about harassment at the workplace, but Scruton "could never be a part of that," Hoffman said. "He was just a happy, Red Sox, Patriots and University of Connecticut fan."
Scruton also was a UConn donor, according to the school's Founders Society, created to recognize major benefactors. Scruton and O'Brien — longtime UConn football season-ticket holders — were designated members of the "Constitution Circle," for those whose cumulative contributions were between $100,000 and $249,999.
"He was a good husband, he was a good friend, he was a good co-worker," O'Brien said. "He was a hell of a guy and I don't know what I'm going to do without him. … He was a good human being. He was reliable. He was there when you needed him. I hate using the past tense. I can't even believe he's gone."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times