On the evening of July 18, 2015, William “Billy” Bruce Scherer died at home after a three-month battle with cancer. He was surrounded and comforted by family members at the time of his passing. He was 72 years old.
Scherer was born in 1942 in New York City to Fred and Marguerite Scherer. He grew up in Sleepy Hollow and attended Sleepy Hollow High School. He was the recipient of the University of Houston’s Army ROTC scholarship and later served as a captain in Vietnam from 1968 to 1973. He helped establish the Westchester County Veterans Memorial in Somers.
As owner and operator of S & K Construction Services, Inc., Scherer managed major construction and renovation projects, primarily in southern Westchester County, for more than 30 years.
He lived life to the fullest, in the present moment, and with a fervent passion, instilling this unrelenting love for life in his children. An accomplished singer and songwriter, Scherer wrote and recorded dozens of songs. Two songs, “Saigon Children” — which made the airwaves — and “58,000+,” protested the war in Vietnam. His music was predominantly in the classic rock genre but also included many whimsical children’s songs that reflected his perpetual youthfulness.
Scherer danced ballroom and Latin with his wife, Sitora Scherer, placing in numerous semiprofessional competitions as well as representing the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Bedford Hills on more than one occasion.
As an enthusiastic outdoorsman who believed in living close to nature, Scherer spent much time hiking, camping, fishing and freely exploring. Before he was 50, he had climbed all 46 Adirondack High Peaks. He was also an experienced scuba diver, having built an underwater camera at the age of 12 and establishing the Sleepy Hollow Skin Divers’ Club in high school.
Scherer often remarked that experiencing the world through travel was the best education, an idea that brought him to Southeast Asia, Europe, Romania, India, Australia, Bali, Australia, Aruba and the Bahamas.
Scherer is survived by his wife, Sitora, and their three children, Saminah, Aisha and Zane Ali, as well as three sons, Nicholas, twins Peter and Paul, from his previous marriage to Tanya, and one daughter, Kim, from his previous marriage to Ruby. He is also survived by his twin sister, Janice-Ellen, his sister Deidre, his brother, Gregory, and their spouses, four nieces and two nephews.
Toward the end of his life Scherer converted to Islam. Services were held at Masjid al-Ikhlas Mosque in Newburgh on July 20. The Muslim Brothers gifted him with a plaque bearing these words by M. Fethullah Gülen:
Be so tolerant that your heart becomes wide like the ocean.
Become inspired with faith and love for others.
Offer a hand to those in trouble and be concerned about everyone.
Above all, Scherer was just that — concerned about everyone. He lived to help others even if it meant having less for himself. He touched many lives and made many friends who will miss him greatly.
Donations to Billy’s family may be made through GoFundMe.