Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Arthur Scott Earle

Dr. Arthur Scott Earle, plastic and reconstructive surgeon, medical historian, author and photographer, passed away peacefully at home in Boise, Idaho, in the early morning of Nov. 27, 2012, surrounded by his loving family.  He had fought a courageous seven-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Scott was born in Lexington, Mass., on Dec. 13, 1924, to Mildred Scott and Arthur Hinkley Earle.  He attended the progressive Arnold School in Pembroke, Mass., before enrolling in Harvard College in 1942. In February 1943, Scott enlisted in the Army’s newly formed 10th Mountain Division, an elite division of mountaineering ski troops. He was promoted to second lieutenant and was sent to the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of the Japanese mainland. Immediately following Japan’s surrender, he landed in northern Japan as part of the American occupation forces. He spent nine months there before returning to Harvard and graduating cum laude with an B.A. in biology in 1948.

Scott was accepted to Harvard Medical School in 1949. Following his graduation in 1953, he did his internship and residency in general surgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.

In 1959, Scott accepted a position at the Sun Valley Hospital in Sun Valley, Idaho, a mountain setting he loved dearly. The move allowed him to raise his family in an idyllic setting, participate in the outdoor activities that he cherished and establish a much-needed surgical practice across a wide portion of rural Idaho. He loved driving to remote corners of the state to help people, often when their lives lay in the balance. His passion for providing medical help to people in need became the dominant theme of his career. 

In 1970, Scott returned to residency at University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, to become a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Later, as director of plastic surgery at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, he helped pioneer micro-surgical and limb-salvage techniques. Along with associate Dr. Catherine Vlastou, he built a vibrant practice in an area of the city with a high rate of industrial accidents.

Throughout his career, Scott remained dedicated to teaching and humanitarian work. As a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, he was known for his inspirational teaching style.  During the 1980s and ’90s, he traveled on teaching and medical missions to Arizona Navajo Indian reservations, Peru, Guatemala, Greece and Armenia.  

Scott authored numerous books and articles on various subjects. His “Surgery in America” detailed the advancement of surgery in our country’s history. His “Yerevan Journal” recalled his medical mission to Armenia following a 1988 earthquake. Most recently, Scott co-authored “Lewis and Clark Green World: The Expedition and its Plants” and “Idaho Mountain Wildflowers: A Photographic Compendium.” These books combined three of his great loves: mountains, botany and photography.  

Following retirement in 1992, Scott and his wife, Barbara, returned to Idaho where he divided his time between Boise and Sun Valley. Despite a diagnosis of painful degenerative cancer in 2006, Scott remained active. Until the spring of 2012, he continued to take long hikes in the mountains, stopping occasionally to photograph and catalog the mountain flowers he loved. Anyone who joined him on his wildflower walking tours can attest to his breadth of knowledge and desire to share his expertise.

Scott is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Barbara; his children from his first marriage to Constance Heller, daughter Wendy and granddaughter Jessica of Sandpoint, Idaho, daughter Victoria Pye, son-in-law Jonathan, granddaughter Elizabeth and grandson Evan, of Pittsburgh, Pa., and son Scott, daughter-in-law Fiona and granddaughters Elaine and Amanda of Portland, Ore.; and from his marriage to Barbara, son Christopher of Boise, daughter Alison and granddaughter Isabella of Boise, and son David of Pensacola, Fla.

A memorial service is planned for Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. followed by a gathering in the parish hall at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Sun Valley. The public is welcome to attend. An ash-scattering ceremony and a burial service will be held at the Ketchum Cemetery in June 2013.

`The Earle family requests that any donations in his memory be made to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation( or to Boise’s Saint Luke’s Hospice.


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