Meet Vic Scholfield
Legendary Wichita businessman, beloved father and friend Vic Scholfield passed away Saturday, May 4, 2019 at home, surrounded by family.
Over the decades, the brash young salesman became a respected Wichita business leader who helped build one of Kansas’ largest car dealership groups. But through all his worldly successes, Vic never forgot where he came from or what was really important in life.
Victor Herbert Scholfield was born June 28, 1932, in Fort Scott, Kansas, and grew up on a Depression-era farm, the youngest of 7 children of Walter and Beulah Scholfield. In 1946, his brothers started a potato chip company in Winfield where Vic and other family members helped out. They sold that business, and in 1950 moved to Augusta, where Vic worked for Loadcraft selling trailers. Brother Gene helped Vic and Dick get jobs at Hurst Ford in Augusta, where Vic excelled as a car salesman. He and Dick later opened a Pontiac and Oldsmobile dealership in Augusta and hit the ground running.
In 1965, they moved the business to Wichita’s east side, at 7633 E. Kellogg. The Scholfield Bros. dealership boomed and so did east Wichita. Initially, they sold Pontiacs and used cars. Then, as their success grew, the Scholfield Brothers acquired the Mercedes franchise in 1968, then Honda in 1971. A decade later came another growth spurt, when they added several franchises representing Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, GMC trucks, Acura, Lexus, Hyundai and Buick.
Vic was a pioneering “car guy” who excelled at marketing and sales. He was charismatic, persuasive and talented at negotiating deals and cultivating relationships, whether with bankers or sales reps or other businesspeople who could help the Scholfield dealerships grow. He dreamed big, and knew how to cut to the chase and get things done.
People were drawn to “Big Red”—he was funny, irreverent and down to earth. Despite his sometimes raw humor, he could charm everyone from Catholic nuns to university presidents and heads of corporations. To be around him was to feel a little more alive. His enthusiasm and sense of fun were irresistible.
But as proud as Vic was of building the car dealerships, he knew that his greatest success was in creating a large, close-knit family who loved him and one another. He had three children—Roger, Randy and Robinn—from his first marriage with Darleen (Wickham) Miller. In 1976, he married Bea and added her children—Tanya, Timi, Tracy and Thane—into a big blended family.
At the heart of Vic’s life was Bea, his soulmate. He adored Bea and never ceased to feel blessed that this beautiful, charismatic, devoted woman was his partner, best friend, and, in his last years, devoted caregiver. Their storybook romance was central to his life and identity.
In the last years of his life, Vic battled Parkinson’s disease. He rarely complained, and continued to fight the good fight with courage, humor and grace. His tremendous physical strength—and strength of character—shone forth.
Vic Scholfield was blessed to spend his life working at something he loved, building a business that over the years lifted the lives of hundreds of employees and associates. And as the Sinatra song went, he did it “My Way.”
Vic was preceded in death by parents Walter and Beulah Scholfield, siblings Gene, Mick, Elise, Dick, Joe and Martha.
He is survived by his children: Roger Scholfield and spouse Jaki (Wichita); Robinn Scholfield and spouse Taylor Pruitt (Kansas City); Randy Scholfield and spouse Karla (Louisville, CO); Tracy Wagner and spouse Dave (Wichita); Tanya Harte and spouse Greg (Dallas) Timi Caro (Wichita); and Thane Poling (Wichita)
He had 14 grandchildren—Connor, Anna, Maddy, A.J., Kelsey, Zach, Dawson, Jonny, Chad, Niki, Jordan, Jacob, Matt, Lauren—and 1 great grandchild, Grayson.
Survivors also include sister-in-law Virginia Scholfield and 11 nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Wichita Children’s Home and Boy Scouts of America.