|Several hundred relatives, friends and neighbors gathered Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Pleasanton to pay their respects and remember Ernest Scherer Jr., 60, and his wife Charlene Abendroth, 57.
The couple was found murdered in their home near the Castlewood County Club on March 14.
The service, conducted even as Alameda County sheriff's investigators were searching areas along the Arroyo De La Laguna less than a mile away, included eulogies by Mr. Scherer's sister Carolyn Scherer Oesterle, former Congressman Bill Baker, economics professor Jay Tontz and Ms. Abendroth's friend Linda Lea Hurley.
Mr. Scherer, active in the Republican Party, served as campaign manager for Baker. He campaigned vigorously despite formidable odds to generate enough support for Baker to be nominated and then to go on to win the election.
Baker talked about Mr. Scherer's conservative bent, even to the point of insisting that Baker furnish his office with throw-aways from the government used furniture storage center, which Mr. Scherer obtained and delivered.
A former member of the San Ramon school board, Mr. Scherer, an investor and real estate agent, was active in local politics to the end and was scheduled to join others last week in planning the Republican Party's 2008 campaign in the 11th Congressional District. He never made the meeting.
Baker said his former campaign manager had endless energy with winning strategies. For these reasons and more, Mr. Scherer was named Contra Costa County Republican of the Year.
Tontz, who was Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Cal State East Bay from 1973 to 2003, when he stepped down to return to teaching, worked with Ms. Abendroth for the 30 years she taught accounting at the college.
Tontz said she was an absolute favorite of her students and the members of Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for accounting, finance and information, which she advised. Two years ago, she won Cal State's "Advisor of the Year" award.
She was also an active member of the Mormon Church,where the funeral service was held. Hurley remembered her as a terribly bright and quite outspoken" woman who inspired other Mormon women such as herself to become more involved in church affairs.
In their tributes, the speakers also talked about the couple's love of hiking, traveling and birding. Their feats ranged from climbing Half Dome to leading bird expeditions from Turkey to Ecuador to traveling extensively across all seven continents.
Oesterle said the family was close knit. Mr. Scherer taught his daughter Catherine the winning strategies of board games and encouraged his son to play soccer. Even though he didn't know a thing about soccer, Mr. Scherer bought books about the game, studied the plays and eventually became a soccer coach for many of the years his son played the sport.
She also talked about the all the Ernies in the Scherer family. Having Ernie Sr. and Ernie Jr. was difficult enough, so the family nicknamed Ernie III "Skip" to lessen the confusion. Then, she added, Skip named his first-born son Ernie IV. The four Ernies always posed for a photo of themselves at the frequent family gatherings Mr. Scherer was fond of arranging. One of their last photos together was part of a collage friends displayed in the church foyer.
Private interment followed the service at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore.
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