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| the history of wake forest
and courageous: gifted with both her mother’s sensibility and
her father’s zest for life. She is their true heir, and they took
pride in all that she has achieved. And I must also salute a man
of unmatched importance to Dr. Scales: Willie Hughes. More
than a companion, more than just a friend, he walked with Dr.
Scales through the valley of the shadow of death, and to him,
especially, all of us who loved Dr. Scales will be forever grateful
and admiring.
The last time I saw President Scales, he did not, I think, know
that I was there. We could no longer talk to each other, nor
could we even make gestures that could be understood. I had
seen him before under similar conditions, and, because his spir-
it was so endlessly resilient, he had always somehow managed to
come home. This time I realized I was saying good-bye.
“It seems a kind of indignity to [a] noble…soul,” Ralph Wal-
do Emerson wrote for the funeral services of his friend Henry
David Thoreau, that “he should depart out of nature.… But [my
friend], at least,” said Emerson, “is content. His soul was made
for the noblest society; he had…exhausted the capabilities of
this world; wherever there is knowledge, wherever there is vir-
tue, wherever there is beauty, he will find a home.”
And so it is with our friend James Ralph Scales. The “noble
heart” has, we know to our sorrow, indeed departed from
among us. He had “exhausted the capabilities of this world.” But
we have confidence that “wherever there is knowledge, wherever
there is virtue, wherever there is beauty, he will find a home.”
Finally, I have chosen, as a kind of valediction to President
Scales, the remarks made by Gene Lucas at a dinner held in the
Magnolia Room some years earlier on the occasion of Scales’s retire-
ment. They are, at the same time, funny and tender, and they cap-
ture Scales’s personality in a way that only someone who knew him
and loved him as Lucas did could possibly have done.
I have been asked to say a few kind words about James Ralph
Scales. That being impossible, I have decided rather to tell the
truth.
Mr. Scales is a recognized scholar of the highest quality; we
know this because absolutely no one understands anything he
says.
He is recognized as a religious leader in the mainstream of
Southern Baptist life; we know this because he eliminated com-
pulsory chapel at Wake Forest; he approved the campus appear-
ance of Larry Flynt, although he didn’t know who he was at the
time; he led the struggle to permit non-Baptists and non-North
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