Ron E. Scherer, 74, of Columbia, Illinois, passed away peacefully after an eight-year battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis on Sunday, February 10, 2019, in his home, surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Ron was born June 13, 1944, in Olney, Illinois, the son of Elza and Freda (Burgener) Scherer. Ron's childhood was spent helping on the family farm, where he learned the value of hard work and a tender appreciation for caring for his livestock. He proudly served as the state treasurer/secretary of Illinois FFA and was the first state officer from Olney.
Ron received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois, where he made lifelong friendships through his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Sigma-IlliDell, and the College of Agriculture. While serving as a graduate assistant, Ron met his future wife, Sharon Tonsor. He maintained a lifelong loyalty to his alma mater, serving on the board of directors for both the University Alumni Association and the Agriculture Alumni Association. He was proud to receive the University of Illinois College of ACES Family Spirit Award and to be selected for the University's King Dad Court. He attended many U of I events and games.
Ron spent nearly 40 years working in the marketing communications field, a career that included serving as Director of Corporate Communications for DEKALB Corporation and owning his own agency, Ron Scherer & Company. His campaigns and projects received numerous regional and national awards. Ron proudly promoted the agriculture industry and was named the St. Louis AgriBusiness Leader of the Year. He served as president of both the St. Louis AgriBusiness Club and the Gateway Chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). He also served as national president of the Agricultural Relations Council.
In retirement, Ron found new interests and hobbies. Wanting to get back to his roots, Ron and Sharon completed much of the labor building their weekend "farm house" and fishing pond on Claremont land that has been in his family for more than 100 years. Here, Ron began growing and selling Richland Acres popcorn, hosted fish fries and gatherings, and served on the Richland Heritage Museum Foundation Board of Directors. He also researched, wrote and published two books, The Soldier from Illinois and Before the Big Yellow Bus: Remembering the One-Room Schools of Richland County.
Ron was the quintessential family man. He was patient, loving and valued travel, experiences and family time above all things. He reveled in the role of grandfather and always shared unconditional love and encouragement -- as well as a few corny jokes -- with his beloved grandchildren. He enjoyed connecting with people and never knew a stranger. He was fiercely loyal to the people and things he loved and courageously battled his declining health with great faith. He participated in several clinical trials in hopes of making a difference for people battling IPF.
Ron is survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharon (Tonsor) Scherer; daughter Jennifer Gimpert and husband Matt Gimpert of Peachtree City, Georgia; daughter Debbie Keefe and husband Tim Keefe of Charleston, Illinois; grandchildren Elise and Luke Gimpert and Caroline and Owen Keefe; sister-in-law Audrey Scherer; father- and mother-in-law Edward and Maxine Tonsor; brother- and sister-in-law Paul and Jan Tonsor; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Elza and Freda Scherer; brother Raymond (Bud) Scherer; and sister Anita (Scherer) Clodfelter.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital: Ron Scherer Memorial Fund (http://giftfunds.stjude.org/RonSchererMemorial) or the Richland Heritage Museum Foundation (www.richlandcountymuseums.org).
A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Olney, with a visitation beginning at 9:00 AM. Burial will follow at Crest Haven Cemetery.
Ron E. Scherer, 74