Former Lutheran pastor Ray Scherer visited eight different retirement communities in four states before deciding The Woodlands was where he wanted to make his new home. He was impressed by how friendly and welcoming residents and staff were and it also brought him closer to two of his sons and their families. He has only lived at The Woodlands since September and is looking forward to his first summer here.
Ray grew up in the small town of Olney in southern Illinois. He spent his teen years driving a tractor and working the family farm.
“We did not have electricity before World War II and we farmed with horses until I was in the 5th grade, so I’m from a different era,” Ray says.
After graduating from high school, Ray went to college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and then attended seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago where he earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Divinity degree.
His career as a Lutheran pastor began in Joliet and Kirkland, Illinois before he moved to Southampton, Pennsylvania with his wife and three sons. Ray served as the pastor of a church there for over two decades and lived there for forty years. During that time, he travelled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and all over Europe. He and his wife hosted five German exchange students when their sons were in high school, and all three boys were exchange students in Germany. Ray still likes to travel whenever possible and he has three timeshares in New York City, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
While he misses his old friends in Pennsylvania, Ray says he has not had any problem meeting people and making new friends every day at The Woodlands.
“There are a lot of activities here and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The highlight of the day is gathering in the dining room each evening and sitting with different people for every meal. It’s a great way to get to know new people. As a clergy person, people are very important to me, and I like to visit and get to know them. That’s how friendships are established,” Ray says.
Ray may have lived at The Woodlands only a few months, but he is already very involved in community activities and is looking forward to participating in more this summer. He serves as the team leader for Saturday night movies and is tasked with choosing the movies based on resident feedback. He sings in The Woodlands chorus as well.
Ray is also staying busy decorating his apartment and has an impressive art collection including a 17th century painting by a Dutch Master, and three 19th Century paintings from Austria, France, and Great Britain.
“I have a beautiful apartment that overlooks the woods, and I am filling the walls with my art collection. I am truly a connoisseur of the arts – music, art, and the theater,” Ray says.