Dr. Hugh Scarbrough has retired from a professional career of optometry that has spanned 50 years.
Scarbrough, 75, closed his office at 159 Court Square March 31.
He says it’s been a journey that has served him well with friendships and experiences that he would have otherwise missed.
“I have been blessed by all the fine people who have walked through my doors all these years,” he said recently.
But the feeling is mutual.
For instance, there’s Huntingdon couple Mac and Charlotte Blair who have depended on Scarbrough for their eye care ever since he opened his office.
“He has provided us with the best in eye care over the years,” said Mac Blair. “We could ask for none better.”
The couple’s two children, son Kelly and daughter Rebecca, were also his patients.
Both Mac and Charlotte Blair wear glasses and have had other eye problems over the years.
Mac Blair said when he developed recurring cornea erosion that Scarbrough diagnosed, he provided care for the problem and referred him to a specialist when he needed cataract surgery.
“We could call him at home after hours and on weekends and he would meet us at the office,” said Mac.
“He was fantastic all those 50 years. We hated to see him retire.”
Charlotte said his scope of an eye situation and his willingness to help were remarkable. She recalled a pair of special glasses that he made for her that she called her “piano glasses.”
“They were helpful in helping me see the music,” she said.
The couple also sang his praises for not only the eye care he provided, but his friendship as well.
Katie Arnold of Bruceton said she has been a patient since he opened his practice.
“He is a wonderful person, always happy and helpful,” she said. “He’s a good Christian and was always good to me and my husband, Joel, who is now deceased.”
She said that she had enjoyed having him as a doctor.
“I love both he and his wife who are special people,” she said.
Assistants Rosemary Maddox and Anita McLemore worked in his office for over 30 years each. The late Wilma Darnall was employed by him for over 20 years.
“They all took care of me and made my practice easier,” he said. “They are special people.”
Dr. Scarbrough, son of H.B. and Margaret Carter Scarbrough, grew up in McKenzie, graduating from McKenzie High School in 1959. However, growing up, he spent a lot of time in Huntingdon, visiting his grandparents, Jim and Eula Carter who lived on West Main St. that is now the Carroll Bank & Trust Co. parking lot.
Former Huntingdon Mayor Wilburn Jolly and his wife, Mary Sue, were related as well. Mrs. Jolly was Scarbrough’s mother’s sister.
He credits McKenzie optometrist O.C. Wells, who he first visited at the tender age of five, with making an impression and having a part in steering him toward the optometry profession.
Then, the summer that he worked at H.I.S. in Gleason pressing pant inseams made him recall the cool comfort of Dr. Well’s office as well.
No one in his family is an optometrist. Neither did he choose to become involved in politics even though his father served three terms as Carroll County Sheriff and was also mayor of McKenzie. He lived at the jail a couple of summers, which was a real experience, he says.
In 1963 he entered Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, graduating in 1966.
While in school he married the former Larenda Bradfield of McKenzie on Jan. 1, 1966. She owned her own real estate business, Scarbrough Realty, at one time. She is now a realtor for ReMax Realty in Paris.
After completing school, Scarbrough was in the Army for two years where he put his optometry skills to use at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas and also while at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.
After leaving service, he worked two years in Springfield before deciding to reside in Huntingdon.
After returning to Huntingdon, he opened an office on West Paris Street in the building that was occupied also by dentist A.D. Marshall.
“I thought I could develop a good practice in Huntingdon,” he said. “I had met Dr. Scott Portis at Boy’s State and knew a lot of people here from childhood.”
Later, he purchased the former Dr. Douglas office located on the corner of Court Square and West Paris Street. In 1999 he bought his present building where Dot Milam’s dress shop was formerly located and has remained there since that time.
Scarbrough is an avid baseball fan and historian of the game. Over the years he has visited most of the major parks in the country.
He tells a funny story about the time that Mike McLemore and himself attended a Cincinnati Reds’ ballgame.
Since it was not time for the ballgame, the two went to a nearby museum. After touring it, they found lounge chairs where they sat (laid) down. Both went to sleep and the manager had to awaken them when it came closing time and they were still asleep.
“The good thing was the fact that we didn’t miss the ballgame,” he said.
The Scarbroughs have two children, Mary Margaret Burrows and Brad Scarbrough.
Both live in Nashville. Mary Margaret, who is the Associate Director of Finance Business Intelligence at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is married to Derik Burrows and they have a four-year- old son, Aaron. Brad is an attorney who deals with construction and real estate legal matters. He and his wife, Katie, have a two-year- old son, Cole.
Scarbrough is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Huntingdon and is a former Huntingdon Special School District school board member.
Now that he will have free time there are some places he says that he needs and wants to go.
“Of course, there will be visits to see the children and grandchildren and I want to do some fishing,” he said.