Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Goodbye Doreen Scholtes

This morning I learned that Doreen Scholtes passed away, after a long battle with cancer and MDS. For many years Doreen was the Information Officer of NASWC. Her strong belief in our local community and government was inspiring, and her enthusiasm was infectious. I met Doreen in August of 2006. I was excited about all the birds I was finding in the neighborhood, and I wanted a way to share my experiences with the community. Doreen liked my ideas of writing a neighborhood birding column and leading monthly bird walks, so that's how Birding on Broadmeade got started.

I knew Doreen mostly from her emails. We exchanged hundreds, usually about upcoming eblasts and columns, and local goings on. Her rich knowledge of the history of our neighborhood would come through in tidbits like this one:
And Forest North was so named because our area was known to the locals as the North Forest. A police officer who grew up in Riviera Springs in Cedar Park used to play in our neighborhood. He told me that everyone knew of our spring-sodden and heavily wooded area as The North Forest. Cool huh?
About the old Pond Springs Cemetery she wrote,
I know the cemetery well. We used to do rubbings on the stones over there before the first revamp took a lot of them out. The school children of Forest North got an historical marker placed on 620 years ago for that graveyard, long before SH-45 ripped through and took it out. In fact, that was before there was even a Lake Creek Parkway going through there!
Aside: did you know that we had one private graveyard located along Lake Creek? It was on private property near or on the State Farm tract. If you ever see the headstones, but I doubt they are still there, while you are birding, please snap the shots!
(I have not yet found any sign of the private graveyard.)

With Doreen's promotion, my column was well received by the neighborhood and a few people even showed up for my bird walks. I felt like a real member of the community rather than just a resident. In 2007 Doreen and I were excited about the construction of the new Lake Creek Trail, and we worked together to get the county to post No Dumping signs and place boulders to block vehicle access. In 2008 our emails decreased as Doreen became more ill. My last emails with her were in September and October, when I was serving on the nomination committee for the NASWC elections. She gave me great advice that showed her strong belief in democracy and local government:
Understand that we have in place a board of directors, officers, a nominating committee, and the membership wisdom. If someone appears who wants to take on an officer’s job but is not qualified, then those four levels of NASWC Stewardship have NOT done their job if they promote that person to that level. They have treated it like an insignificant position, which it is not. And there is no Junior position when it comes to officers. No such thing exists in our Bylaws.
Then she drilled down from these general ideas into how they should be carried out in our election process and the workings of the NASWC bylaws. When I asked about the status of her own position, Information Officer, she replied:
It is time to warm someone else up in the locker room for my job. ... It is hard letting go but even harder having the problems associated with these two cancers and Sweet's disease. Ugh. But hey, I've done this for about 11 years! Time for another to improve on what I've done and make great things happen.
And that's what she believed. A neighborhood association full of average folks can make great things happen. She made me believe it. I'll dearly miss her.


Anonymous said...

You captured the spirit and warmth of Doreen in this post, Mikael. She will definitely be missed.

Unknown said...

Your comments ring true for me as well. I did a lot of chatting with Doreen via email in the mornings over coffee. I use to joke that we were having ciber-coffee with each other. My favorite memories will always be that when I asked her a simple question, I got an encyclopedia for an answer.

The enthusiasm for which she stood up and defended our communtiy and the pride she took in our neighborhood, gave me my own voice when it came to dealing with the school and school district regarding issues that would affect us here in our jewel of a neighborhood. I will miss her counsel and wisdom.

I am glad that her pain is no more, but the selfish part of me will miss her terribly.

Janet Harris

Anonymous said...

Doreen ROCKS! She is such a wonderful person, and I will miss her. While serving as an officer of NASWC, I always looked forward to meetings when I knew Doreen would be in attendance. She was always so full of information about pretty much everything, from conducting business to goings-on in the 'hood. She is one of several major backbones of NASWC.

Our great loss is heaven's great gain. I am glad that she is now at peace.

Ellie4cats said...

I loved Doreen. I worked with her husband Mike and knew her from way back when we all bowled together on a league. She volunteered where we all voted in the neighborhood and I always looked forward to seeing her when I went to vote. I will really miss seeing her smiling face and hearing her family updates.