Douglas Vern Scherer
Douglas Vern Scherer was born to Alfred Theodore Scherer and Ione Dorothy (Scott) Scherer in Chehalis, Washington on November 5th, 1926. “Bud”, as he was called by family, grew up with his older brother Bobby, and younger sister Shirley, in Chehalis.
When Bud was just a boy, he got a blister on his heel from a pair of shoes that were too tight. The infection from the blister spread to the bone in his leg, crippling Bud for a couple of years. For a few years, he had to push himself back and forth to his elementary school in Chehalis, in a wagon. Although he regained his ability to walk again, the infection left him partially disabled, and impaired his walking for life.
His dad owned and operated a meat packing plant in Chehalis. When Bud grew older, he helped with various chores at the plant, like making sausage. One time, Bud got too close to a bull that became riled, and the bull gored him in the mouth, knocking out several of his teeth.
Bud graduated from Chehalis High School in 1945, and worked as a cattle buyer for his Dad, along with his future brother-in-law Jim Deskins, travelling to the auctions to buy cattle for the packing plant. This is where Bud acquired his propensity for dickering, a skill he retained and employed throughout his life.
Early in 1949 he went to a dance barn, and spied a lovely young Sharlene Joy Hurn across the room and confidently informed her at that first meeting; “I’m gonna marry you”. Sharlene wasn’t as convinced, but, as Bud predicted, it finally happened on July 15th, 1949. They honeymooned in Seaside, Oregon, a place where the family returned many times later during Summer vacations.
Bud and Sharlene lived with Bud’s Grandmother Scott for a while, after they were first married. For a while, he sold vacuums with his new brother-in-law Glenn Cash. This turned out to be a fairly brief endeavor, for both of these young entrepreneurs.
Then Bud got a job with the Boeing Company in Seattle, working in the material stores. They moved to a small apartment in Seattle, and it was there, in October of 1952, that they had their first child, a daughter named Cathy JoAnn Scherer. Shortly after Cathy was born, they moved into their first house, in Boulevard Park in Seattle.
In November of 1953, their son Douglas Gayne Scherer was born.
And finally, in March of 1959, their youngest child, Linda Lee Scherer was born.
Bud was promoted to a supervisor at Boeing, and in early 1961, was offered a transfer to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to work on the Minuteman Missile Program, the land-based leg of the United States nuclear defense system.
This was historic timing, because another program was also just getting under way at Cape Canaveral; Project Mercury – the first manned space program for the United States. During the time the Scherers were at Cocoa Beach, the family was able to watch the launches of Ham the chimpanzee, astronaut Alan Shepard, astronaut Gus Grissom, Enos the Chimpanzee, and astronaut John Glenn.
Bud transferred back to Seattle in March of 1962, bringing the trailer the family had lived in at Cocoa Beach. They lived for a short time in their trailer, at a park near Bow Lake, near SeaTac, and then moved into a small home in Renton Highlands, while building a brand-new home near by. They moved into the new home in 1963, and that is where Bud would spend the rest of his life… just over 60 years.
The new home was on three acres of land, so Bud was able to put in a large garden for many years. Bud and Sharlene canned vegetables and pickles – lots of pickles - from the garden, including an extra-hot variety that was not for the meek at heart.
Bud even built a corral and raised a cow, but that didn’t work out too well. Sharlene befriended “Daisy”, petting her and even singing to her at times. So, when it came time to set Daisy on the table, neither Sharlene, nor the girls, would partake of their beloved pet. That was pretty much the end, for cattle-ranching, at the Scherer homestead.
Aside from the Summer vacations to Seaside, Oregon, Bud had a pickup with a camper on it, and for several years, the family camped at Lake Kachess near Snoqualmie Pass. Hand-feeding the squirrels peanuts at the Ranger Station was a favorite activity at the lake. The mosquitos, always dense in late Summer, however, were not as beloved.
For years, in the sixties, almost every weekend, the Scherers would drive out to Kanaskat, near the foot of the Cascades, and visit the Cash family. Bud and Sharlene would play “Hearts” with Sharlene’s sister Muriel (or “Sis”), and her husband Glen, almost always husbands-against-wives. After cards, the adults would often go down to the Green River Taven and play shuffleboard. And, while all that was going on, there was a Cash kid for each one of the Scherer kids to play with; Debbie for Cathy, Larry for Dougie, and Sally for Linda. The bonds formed between these two families, from these frequent get-togethers, have all proven to be life-long.
In later years, Bud became interested in motor homes. For a few decades, he went through a steady stream of them, employing all those dickering skills he learned in the cattle trade, always trading up, into newer, bigger and better motor homes. Eventually, he had two large motor homes, and had a garage built that was big enough to house both of them.
He didn’t limit this activity to just motor homes, he would buy vehicles of all types, including cars and trucks. He loved to make personal deals and contracts, and helped many, many, people acquire vehicles they couldn’t have otherwise afforded. He would let people make payments to him, or, take labor in trade. He didn’t always make out on these deals, and indeed, sometimes he got “burned”.
But finding the bargains and making the deals was his passion… he always had what we called the “good deal cackle”, which we heard many times. After making a good deal, when telling us about it later, he would describe the item as a salesman might, and end with “guess what I paid?” After a few guesses, he would proudly “cackle” and tell us the purchase price, which was almost always an impressive buy.
Bud loved finding deals so much, that if he heard one of the kids needed or wanted something, he would very often find it for them first, usually before they even had a chance to look around. Most often, this would be to their advantage, and he would find them great deals. But, some times, if you really wanted to make your own selection, you would have to be careful what you brought up around Dad.
One thing Bud and Sharlene loved to do, was take motorhome trips with Sharlene’s sister’s and her brother, and their spouses. And a favorite destination was Reno. They went on several of these trips with her sister Shirley and her husband Don. Bud and Don could almost always be found at the twenty-one table, but Sharlene and Shirley would mostly stick to the slot machines.
Bud was always in his best element with Don… they seemed to ignite one another. For years, Bud and Don organized the activities surrounding the annual Hurn Family Thanksgiving celebration in Centralia. There was a football game for the men and boys, skating for the kids, and a huge Bowling tournament for the adults on Thanksgiving night. These were some of the absolute best times. And Bud was a ferocious bowler… he could power a ball down the lane so fast, that it always resulted in a thunderous explosion when it reached the pins, and his scores often exceeded 200, or better.
Bud and Sharlene and their adult children had a resurgence in camping, near the turn of the century. They joined a camping club at Lake Sawyer, and now, with everyone better equipped with motorhomes and campers, they gathered several times a year at the Lake. Cathy and Linda would often create themes for those camping trips, such as Mexican, or Hawaiian. They would bring decorations and attire that fit the themes.
“Camping” may not have been the most accurate term for these excursions… perhaps “outdoor eating” may have more accurately described the activity. Bud took a vested interest in these outdoor meals, and sometimes, weeks in advance of a trip, he would start planning the menus, and usually provided the meat. Son-in-Law Al, a professional cook on fishing vessels, usually made the breakfasts, and Dougie and his wife Carol would prepare the dinners. Bud dearly loved having these often quite elaborate meals prepared for him by his children.
Bud also became a huge garage-sale fanatic, watching the ads for local sales, and getting out early on Friday and Saturday to get first grabs on the good stuff. Sometimes, even on a weekend when they were camping at Lake Sawyer, he would note garage sale signs on the way to the lake, and hit them in the mornings.
He almost never paid the price marked on the items… if the seller didn’t wanna dicker… it was usually “no sale”! He always kept an eye out for things the family might want or need, and the kids could always expect a few extra things on their birthdays, or at Christmas, that Bud had acquired, with them in mind, at the garage sales.
After Sharlene died in 2007, there were a few more camping trips, but somehow, without his wife, a lot of the joy from those trips had withered for him. The motor homes and campers were sold, and the camping memberships expired.
Bud’s leg, that had troubled him since his youth, became more and more disabling as he grew older, and he became more confined to his home. After losing both of his daughters in tragic circumstances, Dougie and Carol took over the grocery shopping and laundry duties.
But Bud would still watch the grocery ads, and note where all the best buys were, and which items had coupons. Then he would call Dougie and Carol with his list and note where to buy each item. His weekly grocery bill was, most often, less than twenty dollars, and sometimes required visits to as many as three different grocery stores. Bud had not lost his love for a good deal.
As he became more and more confined to his home, Bud’s interest in politics intensified. For decades, he had been a staunch conservative, and a republican. The last democrat he voted for was John F. Kennedy. When you couple this with his acute loss of hearing in later years, you could usually expect to be exposed to FOX News at 140 decibels when you came over for a visit.
In the most recent years, Bud developed a strong relationship with his neighbor, Ginger. The large garage that Bud had built for his motor homes, was by then, mostly under-utilized. Ginger had, for years, managed large yard sales, with all of the proceeds going to feed families in Haiti. But finding space to store all of the donations for her yard sales had been an ever-present challenge. Bud needed help with house cleaning.
So… a deal was struck… and a steadfast friendship was forged. Ginger would do weekly house cleaning for Bud, and, in turn, she would use Bud’s motorhome garage to store the items for her charity sales.
For the last several years, this arrangement has served not only Bud and Ginger, but hundreds of needy local families in their neighborhood, and it has provided thousands and thousands of meals to unseen families across the world.
And Bud, no longer able to attend the garage sales like he used to, had the pleasure of hosting some of the largest yard sales in the entire area. He would delight in seeing all the sales activity, and sometimes even make a few good deals for Ginger. The “good-deal cackle” apparently goes both ways.
What a testament this has been to a wonderful friendship… what a wonderful legacy this has left for both Bud and Ginger, and what a wonderful way this has been for them to serve God!
Rest in peace, Bud.