Clarence Scharbauer Jr. Dies

AQHA past president dies; services are February 25.

Q-Racing Journal

AQHA Past President Clarence Scharbauer Jr.

AQHA Past President and 60-year cumulative American Quarter Horse breeder Clarence Scharbauer Jr. died February 21 from complications from emergency surgery. He was 88.

Born July 6, 1925, Clarence was known for his generosity to and love for his hometown, his zeal for cattle ranching and his passion for horses. With his sons, Clarence owned and ran the Scharbauer Cattle Co., which at one time encompassed nine ranches in Texas and New Mexico.

“He was an icon in our world. God rest his soul,” said AQHA President Johne Dobbs of Champaign, Illinois.

Clarence adored his beloved wife, Dorothy Turner Scharbauer, and the family they raised together. He carried on the philanthropic tradition first set forth by his father, Clarence Scharbauer, in the early 20th century, a legacy of generosity that will live on through the Scharbauer Foundation, which, in the final years of his life, he helped establish as a lasting gift as he continued to help make Midland a better place. A patient tower that opened at Midland Memorial Hospital in December 2012 bears his and his wife’s name. The city’s sports complex and the Midland College Student Center are also named after the Scharbauer family. Like his father before him, Clarence, was a longtime member of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Midland. He was also a member of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and a former president of the American Quarter Horse Association.

Clarence graduated from Midland High School in 1942 and attended Texas A&M briefly. He served four years in the U.S. Navy, stationed in San Diego, before returning to Midland in 1946 to assume control of the family’s ranching operation, a legacy to which he was firmly committed throughout his entire life. The Scharbauer family has ranched in Texas since the late 1880s.

Clarence was passionate about horse racing. Alysheba, co-owned by wife Dorothy and daughter Pam, won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Of the 139 Kentucky Derbies that have been run, trophies from two of the winners, Alysheba, and 1959 winner Tomy Lee, the Thoroughbred owned by Dorothy’s father, Fred Turner, Jr., reside in Clarence’s Midland home. He owned numerous Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses during his lifetime, and on February 15 in a final dash of horseracing joy and less than a week before his death, Clarence watched on the Internet as his filly Fiftyshadesofgold won the Texas Stallion Stakes at Sam Houston Park. Clarence's earliest racing pursuits came in the 1950s with Quarter Horses. His interest in Thoroughbreds would come later, and begin at the request of Dorothy, who had become an enthusiast while following the success of Tomy Lee in 1959.

Clarence raised High Five, who was the grand champion stallion at the 1955 Southwestern Livestock Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, and Marion’s Girl, a two-time world champion cutting horse. Clarence also bred winners of the All American Derby, the Rainbow Futurity and the Los Alamos Futurity.

Clarence was a member of the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame (1992) and the Texas Horse Racing Hall of Fame (2001). He received the National Golden Spur Award (for national rancher of the year in 1991), and was honored with the Texas Thoroughbred Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). He was the owner of Valor Farm, a 393-acre showplace equine facility near Pilot Point, Texas.

Clarence was one of the first investors in Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and played a crucial role in securing Class 1 track status in North Texas with the Texas Racing Commission.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Turner Scharbauer, who died February 23, 2005; his father, Clarence Scharbauer, and his mother, Ruth Cowden Scharbauer. He is survived by son Clarence III and Kerry Wallace Scharbauer, of Midland, and their children Charlotte Scharbauer French and husband Kirk and son, Philip; Kelly Scharbauer Whittenburg and husband Ben Whittenburg and sons Charlie and Wells; son, Douglas and Karen Johnson Scharbauer, of Midland, and their children, Douglas Scharbauer Jr., and wife, Mauri, and their daughter, Claire, and son, Bradley; Sarah Scharbauer; and Daniel Scharbauer and wife, Morgan; son, Chris and LaVonne King Scharbauer, of Amarillo, and their children, Christen Scharbauer Steen and husband, Steven; Meghan Scharbauer; John C. Scharbauer and wife, Amy, and their children, Mabry and Tesher; Audra Scharbauer Hopper and husband, Jamie; Rachelle C. Scharbauer; and daughter, Pamela Ruth Scharbauer.

The family wishes to express their appreciation to those who took care of Clarence, Maria Jurado, Magdalena Ramos and Norma Ramos.

Visitation will be from 6-7:30 p.m. February 24 at Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home.

Funeral services for Clarence Scharbauer Jr., are at 3 p.m. February 25 at First Presbyterian Church, with the Rev. Steve Schorr officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Midland Memorial Hospital Foundation, 400 Rosalind Redfern Grover Parkway, Midland, TX 79701; the American Quarter Horse Association, 1600 Quarter Horse Drive, Amarillo, TX 79104; and First Presbyterian Church, 800 W. Texas Ave, Midland, TX, 79701.

Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory in Midland. Online condolences can be made at