Dream Big, Live Big
A simple gravestone in Woodlawn Cemetery marks an extraordinary life.
Ralph J. Scoular lived 95 years and nine months — 1925-2020. The left side of the rectangular stone illustrates his World War II service in the US Army Air Corps. The right side shows a Sioux Falls project to which he contributed — the Arc of Dreams.
"Dream Big," the gravestone says. "Live Big."
Ralph Scoular's community pride, vision and ambition inspired countless people who knew him, including his grandson. Jeff Scoular can't emulate the artistry of the Big Sioux River sculpture downtown, but he can be part of another bold Sioux Falls project. A gathering place that binds strangers and families across generations.
"When Mapletøn came up, my dad and I started talking about the impact this could have on Sioux Falls," Scoular said. "The relationships that get built from it. It's something that Sioux Falls can hang its hat on. It's very exciting.
Scoular's inspiration dates back to the Great Depression. His grandpa was born and raised on a ranch in Lemmon, S.D. — walking distance from the North Dakota border. When Ralph wasn't eluding rattlesnakes, he shined shoes for cowboys in town, his first enterprise.
In November 1945, after his war service, Ralph met his future wife, Hazel. They dated for a whopping seven days before marriage. Together they spent the next 70 years.
Ralph began selling mobile homes in Sioux Falls. He poured everything into the industry, raising his children in a dealership lot and eventually buying the company alongside his son, Jim. Ralph sold and constructed thousands of homes across South Dakota.
"They were originally a lot like RVs," Jeff Scoular said. "He used to do the sale, drive them out there, set them up, go back to the dealership and do another."
Golf became a big piece of family weekends. In fact, Ralph aced the par-3 4th at Elmwood in 1983, using the same ball that son Jim nearly discarded after a poor shot. A lesson learned! To this day, Jeff keeps Ralph's hole-in-one ball in his basement.
"He was a giant," Jeff said. "It's hard to put into words how good and kind he was. And what a hard worker he was. He was coming to work 4-5 days a week in his early 90s. That guy was still trying to sell a house months before he passed away. It was unbelievable."
It's no wonder Jeff followed his grandpa and father into the mobile home industry — he owns Jimsco Manufactured Homes and Hidden Meadows. Jeff modeled their military service, too.
Ralph served in WWII. Jim served in Vietnam. And Jeff, after earning a law degree at the University of Nebraska, eventually served active duty overseas in the Air Force JAG Corps. He's still in the Reserves.
Leaving Sioux Falls for several years gave Jeff a new appreciation for his hometown and his family heritage there.
When Scoular first heard about Mapletøn, he asked his dad to join a conference call with Danny Amundson. He wanted Jim's opinion and perhaps his blessing, too. The Scoulars were "blown away" by the concept and organization.
"I think my dad's biggest fear is that he's getting too old to play it," Jeff said. "But I told him there's going to be like six sets of tees. From 5,800 yards, he's deadly. I lose all my money to him from 50 yards and in."
The Scoulars consider the golf club a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Ralph epitomized the American Dream, enabling his kids and grandkids to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Now Jeff Scoular hopes to build on the tradition and deliver new memories.
"I would love to have my daughters or my son jump on this course someday and say, 'Geez, my dad had a hand, whatever little bit it was, in creating this.' I certainly think that way of my grandfather."