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Visitation information
First Presbyterian Church
300 N. Cherry St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Monday, Jul 17, 2017
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Service information
First Presbyterian Church
300 N. Cherry St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Monday, Jul 17, 2017
2 p.m.
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John Donald (Don) Scarlett
Aug 23, 1923 - Jul 10, 2017
Winston-Salem, NC
Ice cream, legal education, golf, fresh-baked donuts, crossword puzzles, Wake Forest sports, family. These were some of Don Scarlett’s most favorite things in life; not necessarily in that order (although I’m pretty sure ice cream was first). John Donald (Don) Scarlett, age almost 94, peacefully passed away on July 10, 2017.

Don was born to Clarence and Mossie Scarlett on August 23, 1923, and grew up in the town of Reading, Pennsylvania. A scholar and multi-sport athlete in high school, he followed his brother to Catawba College in North Carolina only to find his freshman year interrupted by World War II. Don enlisted in the Army and soon found himself seasick on a troop transport, landing at Normandy at D+28, and fighting for nearly three years in Europe before getting injured by a landmine and sent home with a purple heart. He graduated from Catawba in 1948, becoming a regional finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in the process, and headed to Harvard Law School.

After graduating, Don spent two years at a Wall Street law firm (learned the Big City was not for him), two years back in North Carolina at the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill (remembered how nice NC was), and briefly pursued joining the Foreign Service before discovering his true life’s passion: he took a teaching position at the Wake Forest University Law School in 1955, and began a 40-year career in legal education. He taught at WFU for the next 7 years, with one break in 1960 when he accepted a Congressional Fellowship and spent a year in Washington DC. His roommate there was a good friend of John F. Kennedy, and Don became fairly well acquainted with the president. Don returned to WFU in 1961, but continued to spend summers in DC to serve as counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In 1962 Don became the dean of the law school at the University of South Dakota. He would continue on to become the dean of the Drake University Law School, and finally return to North Carolina in 1979 to become the dean of the Wake Forest Law School. When he retired from that role in 1989, he had been a continuous law school dean for longer than anyone else in the country! Don particularly enjoyed the multidisciplinary aspect of the job: getting to work with students, faculty, alumni, university administrations, legislators, bar associations, and a myriad of other individuals and organizations. His accomplishments were legion; perhaps most significant is that Don made it possible for many students to attend law school who otherwise would not have been able to through his work advancing student financial aid and creative admissions processes. He also was a strong advocate for clinical legal education, enabling students to interact directly with local law firms to gain valuable practical legal experience. He was instrumental in getting Congress to approve Title 11, which is a federal program that provides grants to law schools to help support clinical education programs.

Nearing the end of Don’s tenure at the University of South Dakota, he fell in love with Sharon Lee (Sherry) Richards and got married in 1968. After introducing her to one of his favorite pastimes – golf – during their honeymoon, Don spent the rest of his life trying to get his game up to the level of hers. He is survived by Sherry, their three children, and their seven grandchildren: Randall H. Scarlett (wife Mary Anne, children Randall A. and Christina) of San Rafael, CA; Holly Scarlett Yancey (husband Vic, children Hunter (wife Catherine), Addison, and Catherine) of Raleigh, NC; and Sean Scarlett (wife Cindy Wang, children Sierra and Alaya) of Mountain View, CA. Additionally, he is survived by his sister in law Caroline Scarlett, niece Nan Overton, and nephew David Scarlett. Don is predeceased by his brother Mel Scarlett and nephew John Scarlett. Don was a fantastic father; providing unbounded, unconditional support to his children; encouraging them to pursue whatever made them happy in life.

Don loved food, from fine dining to more simple pleasures. He had a distinct sweet tooth; ice cream and fresh donuts were two of his favorites. When he first moved to Winston-Salem in 1956 he lived close to the original Krispy Kreme, where he would frequently pick up a dozen donuts hot off the conveyor belt. He had a passion for crossword puzzles, and his mind remained sharp as a tack right up to his death. He loved the Demon Deacons and continued to attend most home basketball and football games as long as he could.

Don led a full, fulfilling life, and was entirely at peace with death. Don was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, where a funeral service will be held in the sanctuary at 2:00 PM on Monday, July 17. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall. The family would like to thank the staff at Arbor Acres for their loving care for Don over the last 4 months. The family suggests that any memorial gifts be made to the Kernersville Veteran’s Administration Healthcare Center, the North Carolina Library for the Blind or a charity of the donor’s choice. Don’s charm was infectious to all who knew him and his family rejoices as he rests in peace.

 
 
 
 
Condolences
Wanda and Thomas McBride
Thinking about you at this difficult time and praying that God lifts you up, knowing what a wonderful husband you had in Don.
 
 
Ann and Carl Barkley
Sherry, what a wonderful obituary ! We only knew Don through our golfing life- but what fun we had ! We so admired Don through his failing eyesight and his continuing to play golf through the blind golfers association. What a statement he made to all of us - to enjoy like in whatever situation we find ourselves. Just know that we are thinking about you and remembering Don. Love, Ann and Carl
 
 
Reginald Stocks
I just wanted to express my deepest sympathies. Even when our dear loved ones live a long, satisfying life it is still so hard to part ways with them. No doubt this is a difficult time for you, but please draw comfort from the fact that soon our Heavenly Father will address this issue. He will make death "no more”, here on Earth, and also bring back our loved ones that have already "fallen asleep" (2Cor 1:3,4 Rev 21:3,4 John 5:28,29 & 1 Thess 4:14). Again, my condolences
 
 
 
 
 
 

         

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