CARYL ‘DOC’ HOLLINGSHEAD
With a gentle smile on his face Caryl Hollingshead [97 years old] joined the angels on Maundy Thursday, April 1, 2021, surrounded by his children at their family home.
Caryl ‘Doc’ was born in Russell, Iowa on July 12,1923. His father practiced veterinary medicine for 40 years in Albia, Iowa, where Caryl graduated high school. He was conferred a Doctor of Optometry degree at the Illinois College of Optometry, Chicago in1943. During WWII, he enlisted in the Army and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Many years later, as a WW II veteran, he traveled to Washington DC as part of a Brushy Creek Honor flight where his daughter, Rachel, served as a nurse on the trip.
Following his discharge from the military, he set up his Webster City Optometric practice above the Fareway Grocery store at Second and Wilson. While attending a Rotary picnic, he met the love of his life, Verabelle Webb. Their wedding took place in 1951, and they resided in a home they built their entire marriage–raising their children; Rachel, Sue and Mark and creating a foundation of memories.
Community was an important aspect of Doc’s life, and he volunteered his time at numerous community organizations. Believing in children succeeding was a key factor in his optometric practice as well as his volunteer efforts. He was a pioneer when he started providing visual therapy in 1957, with patients as far away as Wisconsin coming to the office biweekly. He was also instrumental in getting legislation passed for Iowa optometrists to have prescription privileges. He was a 50-year plus member of theAmerican Optometric Association, and served as president of both the Iowa Optometric Association and the Noon Kiwanis group. He was also a committed member of the Acacia Masonic Lodge, the American Legion, and the Chamber of Commerce.
As a young adult, he became a Toastmaster, and that was useful over the years whether leading an organization, committee or being an emcee. Being an emcee gave Doc the opportunity to make his audience feel good, and Doc would bring out the songsheets (that were never too far away) with songs to make you smile, such as ‘Bicycle Built for Two’, were in the repertoire.
Doc’s deep faith served as his foundation and as a longtime member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ. He married there, baptized his children, renewed his marriage vows to Verie, and served on various boards. Singing was a passion that came from Doc’s soul. He performed solos his entire life,starting as a teenager until well into his 80s. Easter was a special time when he enjoyed performing “Open the Gates of the Temple” and “Easter Parade” at an Easter Breakfast. He was a part of the Webster City Men’s chorus, church choir and seemed to have a soft spot for the community theater, whether singing or having acting parts,like General Hammond in the MASH play.
Traveling adventures were an integral part of Doc and Verie’s life; each summer thestation wagon would get a car-top carrier added on and away the family traveledacross the USA and Canada which also included winter ski trips where he would sethis downhill rhythm by singing “76 trombones” from the Music Man musical. After retiring, trips with Verie included visits to their children and grandchildren andnumerous trips to Europe with friends. Doc kept his camera busy adding countless scrapbooks to the shelves of memories. Creating memories on film was more than ahobby for Doc. Even though the dark room on the second floor of the family homenever materialized, he enjoyed taking 8mm and VHS family movies. The family traditionis to watch old family movies whenever together.
With his gentle way, he took time to learn about each individual he met. He loved sharing his stories and tips for a good life: always compliment another, take a powernap-after lunch. He enjoyed pulling a joke/story out of his wallet and sharing a laugh with others. ‘What’s for dessert?” was a common question from Doc who loved cranking home-made ice cream to celebrating friends at Birthday Club. He knew there was always time for dessert.
All three children and his grandchildren learned the skills of golf by their patient father and grandfather. Many Wednesday afternoons and weekends were filled with golf games, including the ultimate golfing feat–a hole-in-one. He was also extremely proudof being an Eagle Scout, and his son Mark, followed in his footsteps also earning his Eagle Scout.
Doc has been named the honorary chair of Green Carbon International, his son’scompany. He will never know how many lives he impacted by just being himself. Witty and inpositive spirits right to the end, his children are forever grateful for the unconditionallove.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Verabelle; his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Bertram Hollingshead; his brothers and sister; a niece and nephews. He is survived by his children, Rachel, Sue and Mark; grandchildren, Hunter and Regan; and nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 1:30pm, the afternoon of Thursday, May 13 at First Congregational United Church of Christ.
To honor Caryl ‘Doc’s’ life memorials can be made to First Congregational United Church of Christ: Bess Lyon Scholarship, or to the Webster City Community Theatre Endowed Scholarship Fund.
Foster Funeral and Cremation Center is entrusted with arrangements.