Remembrance of Reed Scholefield
James Reed Scholefield
Born July 9, 1942, disappeared 1973, presumed dead
Written by his "little brother" John Scholefield
Reed is survived by me, by his wife Mary Beth Bowen Treisenberg, by his son Derek Triesenberg, and by Derek's three children. His disappearance and presumed death tragically preceded his parents' deaths, James E. Scholefield and Frances Hood Scholefield.
Reed's childhood was quite idyllic. Out the front door was the millpond where we would spend Thanksgiving Day testing the thickness of the ice. If it were thick enough to meet our mom's standards, we would clear an ice-hockey rink by hand. Of course, being Minnesota, we would play for the next 6 months.
Wintertime also meant digging a maze of tunnels in the heaps of snow piled up around the front door. Springtime was the time for heading out the back door and hopping the fence over into the schoolyard where we searched for coins lost by boys and girls hanging upside down on the jungle gym. In all of these endeavors my "Weed" was the leader and I was the most willing follower. Summertime brought the most halcyon of those childhood days. We spent each summer in at our grandfather's farm in Vermont. There, Reed showed his true skills as both my teacher and my leader. We would roam the hills all day. He formed his own two-boy "scout troop" with a variety of wonderful "merit badges" such as tree climbing, stream jumping, brook damming, etc.
As he grew older his other talents became evident. He had a focus and drive we all found remarkable. Santa always brought us increasingly difficult-to-master games such as Labyrinth, Shoot the Moon, and Stratego to mention a few. Reed would spend hours and hours practicing until he fully mastered them, usually before Christmas Day was over. He loved memorizing such esoteric tidbits as Disraeli's tirade against Gladstone that our father taught him. He also assiduously collected shells, rocks, and coins (of course, using me to help him sift through hundreds of rolls of pennies looking for a random "1922 Indianhead"). His collections were quite complete and worth good money as he was later to exploit during his more turbulent teen years.
As a teen his drive pushed him to excel in rock climbing, mountaineering, competitive swimming, and to my parents' delight, academics. His energy seemed without limit. Reed would drive 24 hours straight to the Tetons, climb some major peak, and then drive back home. All this while pretending to be at a friend's for the weekend using the new direct-dial system (no operator) to try to deceive our mother. He would show up late at swim practice wearing his hockey skates (to the wrath of the swim coach and to the displeasure of the police). A mildly shy Reed Scholefield went from relative obscurity in huge suburban high school to celebrated leader of a male cheerleading group he created to perform the Haka, a Maori war chant he had brought back from his junior year in Dunedin, New Zealand. His manic drive to do everything collided with reality of school and family obligations. His grades slipped that senior year and he occasionally forgot to pick up his brother, to his mother's great ire. Despite these high-school misadventures he lettered in swimming and his prior grades and honors carried him onto prestigious Yale University.
At Yale and subsequently at Macalaster College after failing out of Yale, my big brother flamboyantly lived life to the more-than-the-fullest. He started climbing clubs but his habit of climbing up the outside of the dorms was the cause for rules forbidding such activities. He organized ultra-cheap trips to his beloved Tetons for climbing and to the Bahamas for scuba diving. Unfortunately it was illegal to transport people in the back of U-Haul trucks. He cared deeply about his friends and many stuck with him throughout his escapades. I believe his love of the mountains helped steady him. His increasing use of drugs which he claimed were just mind-expanding experimentation, his bouts of depression, and his grandiose ambitions often resulted in brushes with the law and the mental health system. In spite of all this he succeeded in going onto graduate school in Science at Arizona State. He even landed a job teaching high school, albeit temporarily. Reed always remained a charismatic leader and teacher. In his mid-twenties he found a woman who believed in him. They married and had Derek (yes, named after a hockey player). Then he disappeared. Perhaps his star had burned out.
It was a bright and wondrous star for those of us close to him. In the midst of those turbulent years he found time to take me on a joy-filled trip to climb Mt. Moran in his beloved Tetons. Crazy and determined as ever, he pushed to the summit despite thunderstorms. Reed turned back only in order to stay with his little brother who was afraid to "go for it."