Ethel Talcott "Beth" Scudder
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About Ethel Talcott "Beth" Scudder
Ethel "Beth" Talcott Scudder was born May 17, 1904 in Kodaikanal, India to Ethel Talcott (Fisher) and Lewis Rousseau Scudder. The Scudders were missionaries of the Reformed Church of America (RCA). Beth's early education through the elementary grades was at Kodaikanal School, a boarding school for missionary children in the Palani Hills of South India. She received her high school education in the United States while she was a part of her maternal uncle's family. Ethel graduated from Oberlin College (class of '26) with an A.B. degree and a teaching certificate in Physical education. She served as a short-term Reformed Church in America (RCA) missionary in Vellore, India.
In 1930 she married Dr. William Wells Thoms. Together they went to Jerusalem in Palestine to study Arabic in preparation for RCA medical mission work in Arabia. This was the pre-petroleum era and their pioneering work was in societies very different from today. Beth and Wells served in Amarah Iraq, Bahrain, and Kuwait during the 1930s.
Most of their missionary career was spent in Muscat, Oman, where they went in 1939. Beth assisted Wells in his medical work by training laboratory assistants, organizing and dispensing medical supplies, keeping hospital accounts, meeting payroll, visiting the sick, teaching hospital staff and their families to read Arabic, and accompanying Wells on medical excursions into the Arabian peninsula to treat those unable to come to the hospital. Thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children were treated - from Kings, Sultans, and Sheikhs to the least of the common people (Bedouin, farmers, and laborers). Beth and Wells retired to Stinson Lake, New Hampshire and Flint, Michigan in 1970.