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Body of tsunami victim from Oregon identified.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Officials in Thailand have identified the body of a 37-year-old Oregon man who had been missing from a resort there since the Dec. 26 tsunami, his family said Thursday.

The body of Luke Scully, who grew up in Pleasant Hill, was identified last week through fingerprints. He is to be cremated in Thailand on Saturday, and his ashes are to be sent home to his mother, Tangerine, in Mendocino, Calif.

Still missing is the dead man's girlfriend, Portland real estate agent and University of Oregon graduate Angela Foust.

The couple were vacationing at a beachfront resort in Thailand when the tsunami struck.

Tangerine said Thursday that the Red Cross offered to fly her to Thailand to witness her son's cremation this weekend, but she declined.

Instead, she and other family members are planning a trip to Thailand next December to commemorate his death on the anniversary of the disaster, which may have claimed as many as 300,000 lives.

Luke Scully grew up in the extended family around the Grateful Dead. Tangerine was a member of the group's early entourage; Luke Scully's father, Rock Scully, was a manager for the band.

Luke Scully's stepmother, Nicki Scully, lives in Eugene. She said his body was recovered soon after the disaster and fingerprinted, though the identification was not made until last week. She said he apparently died of blunt force trauma and not drowning, but she knew little else about his death.

She found little comfort in the official confirmation of his death. The grim reality of the body's identification, Scully said, removed the last shred of hope, however fantastic it was, that the couple had somehow survived.

That hope also helped buffer the unpleasant images of a sudden and violent death that had become familiar to family members who spent hours searching morgue photos posted on the Internet in the weeks after the tsunami, she said.

"We had become somewhat comfortable with this romantic notion of Luke and Angie being swallowed up by the sea," Scully said. "And, you know, having seen pictures of the process of trying to identify people, we were actually pretty comfortable with that never happening."

Tangerine said much the same thing.

"I'm getting used to it now," she said. "We all had this scenario in our minds of them being just lost out to sea."

Scully, who worked in the Hollywood film industry while living in Portland, is also survived by his brother, David Caldwell of Pleasant Hill, and two sisters, Ruby and Pearl Steinbrecher of Oakland, Calif.
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Title Annotation:Disasters; Family members find little comfort in the confirmation of Luke Scully's death
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 11, 2005
Words:427
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