Losing part of the ‘Greatest Generation’

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jake Scherer and John Goldcamp may have shared a few things in common but perhaps nothing stronger than a love for their communities and a commitment to making Lawrence County a better place.

Southern Ohio lost two good men last week when the longtime Ironton businessman, Scherer, and the educator and law enforcement officer, Goldcamp, passed away.

Each men, in their own way, created a legacy by the impressions they made on others. These will be felt for years to come.

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John William Goldcamp, 66 at the time of his death on Nov. 26, lived and breathed for the Coal Grove community.

He was the director of transportation in the school district and also taught there for more than 30 years.

But John could also often be found patrolling the streets in a police car. He served on the police force in the village for more than 35 years, many of those as the chief of the department.

Jason Bloomfield worked with John for at least 10 years and took over that position when John retired. Bloomfield credits Goldcamp with guiding him on his way to being chief.

“He was the person who helped me prepare for this role,” Bloomfield said. “And even after he retired, he was always there for any questions we had and to help out with anything that he could.”

“He may have retired from working but it was always with him,” Bloomfield said. “He had a love for it, a love for service.”

Perhaps more than anything, Bloomfield said he would remember John for his honesty and straight-forward approach.

“No matter who you were, you knew where you stood with John,” Bloomfield said. “He would tell you like it was.”

And a few miles away in Ironton, Jacob “Jake” Scherer was remembered in much the same way.

The owner of B.F. Scherer Insurance Agency, Inc. for 50 years — the business that later became Scherer Mountain Insurance — Jake was committed to Ironton.

The Navy veteran served in city government during two different decades and worked on the Charter Committee that helped lay the foundation for Ironton’s government.

Business partner Rich Mountain said that losing Scherer meant saying goodbye to a friend, mentor and father figure.

“Jake was an icon in Ironton. He loved Ironton, Ohio, and he never gave up on Ironton,” Mountain said. “He was always looking for ways to improve the city.”

Mountain said Scherer’s old-school beliefs in right and wrong and how you treat people were the traits that made him a successful businessman as well as a good person.

“He was a principled man,” Mountain said. “He didn’t go outside the lines.”

But perhaps the best words to sum up Scherer may have come from the man himself.

“One thing you could depend on was that whatever he said was going to happen,” Scherer told the newspaper a decade ago referring to the passing of friend and business owner. “He was a go-getter and a dependable guy. His word was his bond.”

The same can be said about Jake Scherer.

Both these men came from the era that has been called “The Greatest Generation.” Then Lawrence County has lost two of the best of the best.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.