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Duluth man who froze to death struggled with alcoholism

Scott Miner

DULUTH - Family and friends on Monday remembered Scott Anthony Miner, 22, as a person who loved being outdoors, even as they tried to come to grips with his death alone and in the elements early Sunday.

Miner apparently died of hypothermia, authorities said. His frozen body was found in an empty parking lot near the Copasetic Lounge on Central Entrance about 9 a.m. Sunday. He was a member of the extended family that owns Super One Foods.

"Everybody that knew Scott loved him," said his mother, Kim Miner. "He hunted, he fished. Fishing was his life. He loved Christmas lights. He was so outgoing to everyone."

Boyd Hanson, human resources director for Miner's Inc., said: "The family is still grieving, and very overwhelmed, but they appreciate the response the community is giving them."

In 2000 at age 14, Scott Miner spent significant time in a Twin Cities hospital after receiving a kidney transplant.

"He was going to die then," Kim Miner said. "He was critically and terminally ill, but he lived. ... We had more years with him than we thought we would. I never thought he would die this way. I thought he would die from his medical condition."

Police believe Scott Miner left the Copasetic Lounge sometime early Sunday morning, walked a few feet into a parking lot at a vacant commercial building at 326 E. Central Entrance -- the former Pro Print/First Photo building -- then fell or lay down and froze to death. Temperatures in Duluth dropped to 17 below zero early Sunday, with the wind chill colder than 30 below.

Police are still investigating the death, but they believe it was an accidental death from exposure, Duluth police Sgt. Leigh Wright said.

Kim Miner said her son had struggled to quit drinking, twice undergoing treatment for alcohol use. "He was working on getting better," she said.

Scott Miner pleaded guilty in September of driving while intoxicated and in June 2006 to underage consumption, according to St. Louis County court records.

Kim Miner said her parents, who Scott lived with until he died, dropped Scott off at the Copasetic Lounge about 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and she spoke to him at 10 p.m. "It seemed like he was just fine," she said.

It could be three weeks before toxicology reports reveal how much Scott Miner drank before his death, Wright said.

"He tried to call a friend at 2:51 a.m.," Kim Miner said. "That is the last known phone call. So we know he was alive at 3 yesterday morning."

Though Scott survived his teenage illness, he never escaped it. He still took medication, was chronically ill and suffered severe back pain, Kim Miner said. He worked for a temp agency that scheduled jobs around his illness, she said.

"It was his way of releasing his emotions over his disease," his brother, Luke Miner, said of Scott's drinking.

Scott Miner spent Saturday afternoon with his brother, Luke, 25. He was in a good mood, his brother said.

"He was always in good spirits," he said. "Even when he was in the hospital for his illness, for decades it seemed, he was always happy. He always had a smile on his face."

Mike Kolodge said Scott Miner was a good friend.

"He helped me out a quite a bit, just being someone to talk to or if I needed anything," Kolodge said. "My kids loved him. They were always asking for 'Scottie' or 'Uncle Scottie.' He played with them, baby-sat them. He was always there for us."

Visitation for Scott Miner are tentatively set for Thursday in Duluth, followed by a funeral on Friday morning, Kim Miner said.