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Remembering Beth Scherer

Beth came to the Fellowship Community with her husband Joe in 2006, and lived here for another 16 years to the age of 98.


Beth, an only child, was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 4, 1923. When she was two years old, the family moved to Miami, Florida, where she grew up. Her father was a real estate broker, her mother was a homemaker and occasionally worked as a private nurse.

Ever since she brought the house down with her dramatic performance of Peter Rabbit's mother, Beth wanted to be an actress. She majored in drama in high school and at the University of Miami. At the end of her sophomore year, when the Second World War broke out, she left school to work as a receptionist for a construction company which built hangars for Navy reconnaissance blimps.

At the same time, she joined a local USO group and performed shows for GIs and sailors stationed near Miami. She returned to school - this time, to the University of Chicago. It was there, at a folk dance, that she met Joe, who was stopping off during Christmas vacation to visit friends. They married in the fall of 1949.

While Joe completed his PhD, Beth did secretarial work for several Nobel laureates until their son Ed was born. Joe then became an arbitrator for the Wage Stabilization Board until President Eisenhower closed it. Daughter Rachel had just been born and it seemed best to return East. Joe was first an adjunct professor at Columbia and Hofstra, and later was asked to be visiting professor for one year at Bowdoin College.

There, in Maine, Beth felt that she had at last found her real home. But, it had to wait. They moved to Long Island and Joe became a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In time, they enrolled the children in the Garden City Waldorf School. Soon thereafter, Beth joined the school, spending seven years as a librarian and twelve as a class teacher. Loving Georgetown, Maine, the family had built a summer home on the ocean where in 1982 Beth and Joe retired for the next twenty-two years. There, Beth looked after her mentally ill mother for seven years, served on the founding board of the Merriconeag Waldorf School

in Freeport, was active in the Anthroposophic life of the area, and in the last twelve years increasingly had to care for Joe as his dementia developed.

Rachel met her husband, James Madsen, at the University of Colorado where she received a degree in physical therapy. They have three fine sons, all engineers and married. There are four great-granddaughters. When Rachel and James, a Waldorf School teacher, moved to Spring Valley in 2006, Beth and Joe came along to find their new home at the Fellowship Community. Here, Joe would be well and lovingly cared for during the final year of a long illness, and Beth, working with other dedicated members and friends, could find joy in reinvigorating the Schiller Library. She also spent many years overseeing the Quiet Table. A couple years after retiring, Ed moved to the Fellowship as well.

Beth died April 27, 2022 at the age of 98 after a struggle with cancer and various heart issues.


To make a gift to the Fellowship Community in honor of Beth Scherer please visit


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