8/8/1943 – 11/19/2021
Black sheep, black sheep, where do you roam. Black sheep, black sheep come on home.
Raymond Edward “Ed” Scheurich, who died Nov. 19, 2021, lived many lives in this life, surviving wild turns of fate and building love, family, and community along the way. A celebration of his life will take place on April 1, 2022 at Obiji Farm (details to come).
Ed was born in Lansing, MI. Aug. 8, 1943 amidst the chaos of the second world war to Raymond “Ray” Edward Scheurich and Marjorie Louise Whitehead, both from Joplin, MO. When Ed was a toddler, his parents divorced and his mother left to start another family, not to be in touch again for decades. Young Eddie landed in his grandparents’ Joplin home where his dear aunt Rosalie loved and cared for him as a mother for a number of years. His father and stepmother Marty eventually moved Ed into their home where, over time, he gained three siblings: Anne, Greg, and Stephen. He also grew up very close to Rosalie’s children (his cousins), all of the families living in Joplin.
Always compelled by the big picture and having been educated through the Catholic Church, Ed initially planned to become a priest. After graduation from McAuley Regional High School in 1961, he attended the Immaculate Conception College, a seminary, in Conception, MO., earning a BA in philosophy in 1965. One day while at college, he looked out the window to see two birds mating and changed his mind about becoming a priest.
Ed was soon briefly married to the first woman he fell in love with before their divorce six months later. He went on to study art and drafting at Meramac Community College in Kirkwood, MO.
Always a devotee of non-violence, when facing the prospect of the draft for the Vietnam War, he declared himself a conscientious objector. As part of his C.O. status, he served through civilian work, first (for most of 1967) as activities director at the Dayton State Mental Hospital (OH.), where he started a newspaper featuring the writings of patients. While in Ohio, he attended the graduate school of education at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Ed then hitchhiked through Europe and ended up working at a farm in Switzerland tending grapes. When he returned to the states, his civilian work service picked up again, this time at the University of Kansas Medical Center from March 1969-May 1970.
While in Kansas City, through the mentorship of a master carpenter, Ed discovered a passion for carpentry, which he brought with him to Lawrence when he moved here in 1971. He ended up working most of his adult life as a builder, eventually founding Scheurich Construction, which specialized in repair, remodel, and restoration. His work also encompassed educational, multicultural, and vocational issues and projects. He volunteered for organizations he believed in, including serving on the boards of the Merc Co-op and Social Service League, he was a member of Friends of the Kaw, and he supported Independence, Inc.
Ed married Mary Pat John in 1971, and later that year, Lia was born. The marriage dissolved in 1973. A few years later, he partnered with Patti Spencer. Their daughter Corinna was born in 1978, and Jasper followed in 1982. After his marriage to Patty ended, and she moved with the kids to Ohio, Ed followed to be close to the kids, supporting himself through construction. When Patty and the kids moved to Texas, Ed moved too, picking up construction work while also attending the Southwest Texas State University graduate school in education. He taught carpentry at the Gary Job Corps in San Marcos from 1992-93, and he later tutored people to earn their GEDs.
Because Lawrence is the center of the universe, Ed returned in 1995. It didn’t hurt that he had a crush on Laura Ramberg, an artist he had known for years and who got to know him better when she had to draw his portrait for an artwork on the Garage-Mahal. Laura was intrigued with Ed because her dog Nick, who didn’t trust men, climbed onto Ed’s lap as soon as they met. Laura and Ed were joined in a partnership ceremony in 1997, and he lived at Obiji Farm with her from then until his death.
Ed’s passions were wide-ranging and in-depth, not to mention eclectic. He was a lifelong devotee of philosophy, dumpster diving, dancing, Humanure, conflict resolution and mediation, reading (mostly philosophy, The New Yorker, and his favorite book, Dr. Doolittle), rummage sales, art (especially Laura’s art), swimming in the ocean, and being in the driver’s seat. He was a master of the yoyo, loved sex, and adored flying small planes. Ed was also inherently strong-willed, wildly intuitive, deeply curious, expansively intelligent, and craftily innovative. He was famous for his garlic growing abilities, his coleslaw, his wry sense of humor, and his great laugh.
Unfortunately, Ed was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about five years ago, and since then, lost his ability to function independently. In his last year, his favorite activities were shopping at the Merc and talking with his AA buddies (Ed was proud to be 13 years sober). Laura took loving care of Ed, particularly in his last two years when he needed round-the-clock attention.
Ed was inherently a builder – of houses and rooms, families and friendships. When working on building projects, his dreams would dictate to him what the next step was. Many of his clients as well as fellow builders and contractors became his closest friends.
Ed is survived by Laura of the home; his children Lia Abramovitz of Kansas City, MO; Corinna Spencer-Scheurich (Brook Birchard) of Portland, OR; and Jasper Spencer-Scheurich (Natalie Spencer) of Austin, TX; along with six grandchildren: Braden, Christopher, Justin, and Kelsie Abramovitz; Lorenzo Spencer-Brichard; Charlotte Spencer; and great-grandchild Declan Pelham.
He is also survived by his siblings Steve Scheurich of White Center, WA; Greg Scheurich of Joplin; and Anne Stearnes of Joplin, and also Peggy Wagner Isaacs of Atlanta and Edmund Murzic of Florida, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. He is pre-deceased by his parents and step-mother. Laura is grateful to the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association’s hospice program and to supportive friends and family.
To commemorate Ed, please consider a gift to Heifer International, and also please buy flowers for yourself and, as Ed would love, turn up the volume and dance to the music.
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