Living Eighty-five years makes for a good life. If you live it like Thad Scholes did, it can be incredible. Doc Scholes was a fixture in Twin Falls – someone whom it seemed like had been here forever and would be here forever. Sadly, we lost a great man early Monday morning with his passing.
Howard Thad Scholes was born May 11, 1937, to Allie Thatcher Scholes and Standley Fishburn Scholes in Logan, Utah. The family, including his brother (Standley “Bud”), and sister (Luana), lived in Logan for a few years before relocating to Twin Falls, Idaho. Thad graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1955.
Life and education took Thad all over the world. He was a proud Idaho Vandal who was member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and competed for the University in both tennis and track & field. After graduating early from Idaho, he attended medical school at the University of Southern California – also a proud Trojan. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, becoming a Flight Surgeon and working with the U.S. Marines in various spots in the Pacific. On leave from a Naval base in Texas, he made the long drive to see his dear friend, Judy Bracken, in Twin Falls. While there, he proposed, and she accepted. Their wedding on June 1, 1965, was the starting point for a wonderful 55-year joint adventure.
Upon leaving the Navy, he returned to Twin Falls as a General Practitioner. One very early morning, however, after a 3 am delivery, he made the decision to switch gears and move into dermatology. Training in his new specialty led him and his new family to the Cleveland Clinic for three years before he could come back home to hang out his shingle. In 1973, Doc returned to Twin Falls for good. He opened a practice which eventually became Scholes & Scholes Dermatology; his son Chris had the good fortune to practice with him for 16 years.
Doc was a public servant as well. He gave countless hours to the Twin Falls Rotary Club, various medical societies, and to the College of Southern Idaho. He loved CSI. He was the first CSI school physician, and later served as the team doctor for countless CSI squads in many different sports. He served on the CSI Board of Trustees for 35 years, including four years as Chairman. Partially through his efforts, CSI was able to re-establish programs in track and cross-country, a fact that gave him great joy. Just three days before his passing, he was especially honored to attend the celebration for the CSI Cross-country team’s national championship.
The titles that mattered the most to Doc, and those that defined him best, are “husband,” “father,” and “Papa.” He adored Judy, his “girl with moonlight in her eyes”, from high school, through marriage, and to their separation only by her death. At every gathering since that time, the family would hear lovely and heartfelt tales of their life together. Part of every cabin visit was to pick wildflowers to put in a small vase on the dinner table in Judy’s memory.
Thad was an amazing father and grandfather who spent countless hours attending and cheering at baseball games, basketball games, horse shows, dance recitals, track meets, triathlons, musical performances and debate tournaments, rarely missing an event. Nothing provided him more joy than supporting those he loved most.
In 2000, he finally found the cabin in the woods that he had wanted for a lifetime. The next twenty years saw many weekends with family there, regardless of season. Those years featured games, ATV rides to the meadow, and long walks. Many hours were spent on the front porch staring at the mountain and hearing stories – sometimes the same story, repeated. His grandchildren all have fond memories of waking up at the cabin with Papa already awake and waiting to offer freshly made hot chocolate and omelets made in Ziploc bags. That cabin, very much a shared happy place, was the staging ground for his grandson Brooklyn’s wedding. As the bride said: “Papa was the coolest groomsman you could ever ask for and a very handsome one to boot.” Many memories were made there, and much love shared.
Doc was looking toward the future, even in the last years. He was excited about driving an all-electric Ford Lightning pickup (with every bell and whistle) which had been ordered. After being sidelined by a hip fracture, he was working diligently on his physical therapy so that he could make a Presidents’ Day weekend snow trip back to the cabin. This summer, he and his friend Tony Mannen attended the World Track and Field Championships, and they both were looking forward to the upcoming years of NCAA Track and Field.
Thad Scholes – “Doc” Scholes -- was an amazing and complete man. He was impressive without effort, and never felt like he needed to be the most important person in the room. He will be missed as a father, a grandfather, a friend, and a colleague. As tempting as it is to view his life through the lens of it ending, we all should remember in Thad’s case that he didn’t lose in a few days of dying, but rather won over 85 years of living. Even in his final days he was making jokes and memories with family. He will be remembered and missed. We are poorer with his death, but very much richer with his life.
Thad is survived by his two sons, Chris (Anna) and Scott (Kim) and his grandchildren Brooklyn (Janae), Braden, Summer, Mia, and Anthony. He was preceded in death by his wife Judy, his brother Bud, and sister Luana.
A memorial service will be held at the CSI Fine Arts Auditorium on Saturday, December 10 at 9:30am. A reception will follow at 10:30 at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts, Sligar Auditorium. As Doc was not a suit-and-tie sort of guy, the family encourages you to come in your CSI colors or CSI gear.
For those who are not able to attend in person, there will be a live stream of Thad’s service. The live stream can be found at: https://youtu.be/WJnWWNrxgR4
In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the CSI Foundation. Recommended funds include the Scholes Communication and Theater Endowment, the Cross Country & Track Scholarship or CSI Greatest Needs. Please make your check payable to the CSI Foundation and reference the fund in the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: CSI Foundation P.O. Box 1238, Twin Falls, Idaho, 83303-1238. To donate online visit foundation.csi.edu/donate, select “other” under designation, and reference the fund in the comments.