When Ahwatukee Foothills resident Scott Kaiden passed away suddenly on July 30 at the age of 40, his family and the entire community lost a loving father and dedicated friend who inspired everyone he met in an unassuming yet lasting way.
Kaiden is survived by his wife Charlotte and daughters Madison and Nicole. Over 700 people attended the celebration of Scott’s life held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort.
Since her husband’s death, Charlotte Kaiden has been in awe of how many friends and acquaintances of her husband were touched by his generous spirit.
“I guess you don’t look at someone’s young life and realize that they’ve inspired other people, but he made people feel great,” Charlotte Kaiden said.
Scott Kaiden spent the past 17 years as an ADP employee where he steadily climbed the corporate ladder, but the roles he truly excelled in were those of father and husband.
Both of his daughters dance at Victoria’s Dance Depot, and Scott spent countless hours at the studio supporting his daughters as well as all the other young dancers. He never missed a recital or competition and volunteered as the back stage manager for the studio’s recital at Desert Vista High School each year.
“I’ve heard so many of the other dads from our studio say that Scott gave them a lot to strive for,” said Georgia Foote, owner of Victoria’s Dance Depot. “He led by example, and he touched so many people’s lives that the other dads have realized they want to be more involved.”
Kaiden made such an impression on Foote and her husband that they named a studio for him and had a dedication ceremony attended by hundreds Aug. 22.
According to Charlotte Kaiden, Scott’s love for his daughters began the minute they were born and never faltered.
“The girls were never a bother or nuisance to him, they were always a pleasure,” she said. “We were always his priority, and he gave the girls a lot of confidence so they knew that they were loved.”
Scott had many opportunities to move up higher in the companies he worked for, but he never took positions outside of Phoenix or traveled for work because he wanted to be near his daughters constantly.
The way Scott approached fatherhood is even more impressive when his own childhood is considered. Scott was raised by a loving single mom but, according to Charlotte Kaiden, had a father who took no interest in his development.
“Scott’s father never taught him how to throw a football and took no interest in his life, but Scott went the total opposite with our daughters,” Charlotte Kaiden said. “When we started our family he realized how much love we had, and never made excuses or dwelled on his own father.”
Scott Kobashi, a friend of the Kaiden family, realized that dads everywhere have a lot to learn from Scott after he attended Scott’s “Celebration of Life” at the Arizona Biltmore.
“I spoke with many fathers after and reflected within myself during the ceremony along with the other 350 dads and husbands who witnessed a beautiful life of love, joy and a person who lived life to the fullest,” Kobashi said. “I came to the conclusion that we have to live more like Scott which was to love unconditionally, be kind to others, make others feel special, give more time to our kids, and take time to love like there is no tomorrow.”
Since Scott’s death Charlotte has received no shortage of people wanting to help her and her daughters. While she appreciated the generosity in the form of flowers and dinners, with the help of Scott’s college friends she came up with a better way for people to ensure that Scott’s legacy lives on.
“It’s very expensive to dance, so we have established a fund for the girls to keep dancing,” Charlotte said. “Scott and I volunteered a lot of our time at the studio, and Scott would want the girls to continue to dance.”
To support the Kaiden children visit their memorial fund Web site at www.danceforscottkaiden.com.
Scott’s time with family and friends was cut drastically short, but he made the most out of every moment he had.
“He had a short life but he lived it in the now and had no regrets,” Charlotte Kaiden said. “Scott always went for what he wanted and dreamed big.”