How is it possible to summarize a long, rich life in a few sentences? Which words do we choose as our final remembrance?
Edmund Scherer was many things: a loyal and reliable friend, a gregarious host, a meticulous organizer, hilariously funny, generous to a fault, strong in body and character, and—above all—deeply devoted to his beloved wife, Eleanor, and to his children and extended family. Family came first; he quietly turned down several opportunities for professional advancement in favor of doing what was best for the family.
He was also a superb athlete throughout his life, competing as a sprinter and playing tennis and baseball in his young years (he was actually scouted to play minor league baseball!) and continuing to play senior league softball up until the age of 85, when he and Eleanor were hit by a drunk driver, thus ending his ability to participate in sports.
Ed’s character and core values of loyalty to family, friends, and country; hard work; and constantly striving to better himself were largely shaped by being the son of poor, uneducated German immigrants growing up in New York City in the 1930s.
Enticed by the freedom and the opportunities offered by this great country, parents Johann and Paulina came to the United States to build a new life. “Work hard, study, make something of yourself,” was the constant refrain.
And work he did. In addition to helping his parents in their restaurant, he worked a succession of odd jobs and saved enough to put himself through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in business from Columbia University. His education was interrupted by the Korean War, where he served in the U.S. Army from 1951-53, achieving the rank of Corporal. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with two bronze stars and the United Nations Service Medal.
Although he was a candidate for Officer Training School and could have had a military career, he opted instead to take the opportunity offered by the GI Bill to earn a master’s degree in finance, also from Columbia University.
Most of Ed’s working life was spent with Metropolitan Life Insurance as a regional supervisor up until the last years before retirement, when he took a position as a group representative in order to remain in Kansas City.
In 1958, Ed married the love of his life, Eleanor Kuhner. The wedding was followed by a memorable Caribbean honeymoon. The family was completed by the arrival of Julia in 1958 and Ed in 1962. Their life together was filled with laughter, learning, debate, travel, and love.
Ed’s retirement in 1986 opened a new chapter: Gardening, playing softball, being with family, and travel now took center stage. He and Eleanor became world travelers, with destinations that included Australia, the Czech Republic, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and Tibet.
His German heritage was a central part of Ed’s identity. Growing up in a German enclave in New York City, German was his first language. He and his family spent the war years from 1941-45 in Germany. Those who knew him have heard stories, both harrowing and heartwarming, of his experiences from that time. Among them were his adventures as a translator and “mascot” for a company of American soldiers. Following the war, his family returned to the USA. Many years later, in Kansas City, he served as president of the Germania Club for several years, organizing countless memorable events, both large and small, where good times were had and lifelong friendships were formed.
One of Ed’s driving passions throughout his adult life was to finish his book, Bann 363, a fictional account of his early life in New York City and his experiences as a teenager in Germany during WWII. Sadly, that book was never completed, but grandson Derek had the incomplete manuscript published in the fall of 2020. It gave Ed great joy to hold in his hands the tangible result of his years of writing.
The family wishes to thank Country Club Christian Church, where Ed & Eleanor were longtime members, and Kansas City Hospice for providing immeasurable comfort and support.
Edmund’s last months were spent living with his daughter, Julia. Son Ed joined them for the final weeks. With Eleanor, Julia, and Ed by his side and with frequent visits from grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Ed’s last days were spent in the loving embrace of family, who cared for him with the same devotion that he had shown them all their lives.
He passed away quietly and peacefully, bathed in love and light. May he rest in eternal peace.
Edmund leaves behind his wife, Eleanor, of Overland Park, children Julia Scherer and Ed Scherer (Helen), grandsons Jason Frailey (Adrienne) and Derek Scherer (Kristin), and great-grandchildren Keira Frailey and Victor, Walter, and Lyra Scherer.