William Thomas Scherkey

Jan. 19, 1942 – Aug. 28, 2023


William “Bill” Thomas Scherkey was born on Jan. 19, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan. After high school Bill served three years oversees as an MP on the Germany-Czechoslovakia border during the building of the Berlin Wall. Bill returned to the U.S. with the GI Bill in hand and attended Western Michigan University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial management and metallurgy.

Bill worked in the aerospace and defense manufacturing sectors where he oversaw the building of various components for the NASA space shuttle program and stealth bomber. One of the highlights of his career was attending the launch of the space shuttle Columbia at the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 12, 1986 with his daughters Jean Scherkey and Nicole (Scherkey) McClurg.

One of Bill’s favorite hobbies was scuba diving. Although Bill lived in Buffalo, he was very motivated to learn how to scuba dive, so he took lessons in the Niagara River! After he was certified, he took many trips to dive in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

After Bill moved from New York to California in 1989 he met and married the love of his life, Melinda Thompson, thus gaining a third daughter, Carolyn Campbell.

When Bill moved to La Cañada, he became an active member in the La Cañada Kiwanis Club and served as president during 1998-1999. He was a member for over 30 years.

Bill and Melinda started their travels around the southwest using Bill’s Camaro and camping with a pup tent but they soon graduated to a fifth wheel and later to an RV. (Bill insisted he had done enough pup tent camping in the Army!) Melinda and Bill also traveled to many countries around the world. Later in life, Bill’s inner van Gogh flourished. He started taking art lessons and eventually enrolled in many classes at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design.

Whichever direction Bill’s life took him, his true North remained his family. Bill cherished his grandsons, Sam and Evan McClurg. Helen Thompson, his mother-in-law, was also a very special person in his life. Bill and Melinda joyfully drew their extended families together and Bill especially looked forward to large family gatherings at every holiday.

Melinda and Bill were happily married for 30 years. Bill passed away peacefully on Aug. 28 surrounded by the love of his family. There will be a memorial service for friends and family on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. at the La Cañada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd. Bill’s favorite charities were the Lewy Body Dementia Association and the La Cañada Kiwanis Foundation.