Raymond Paul Scheer, 77, who was pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Covington for nearly 30 years, died unexpectedly Wednesday at his home in Covington while recovering from hip replacement surgery.
Scheer, a native of New Haven, Missouri, spent his entire ministry in Louisiana, initially at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Shreveport from 1963 to 1972 and then at Holy Trinity from 1972 until his retirement in 2000.
He graduated from Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis and was ordained in 1963.
Scheer continued to preach frequently at other congregations on the north shore after his retirement and taught a Bible class at Holy Trinity, said Stephen Biegel, the interim pastor at the church. Scheer had just returned to teaching the class after his surgery.
Scheer also was involved in the Gulf District Lutheran Laymen’s League, and he led frequent mission trips through the “Lutheran Hour” program. He had been planning a trip to Chile next summer and had previously led trips to Panama, Nicaragua and Brazil, his wife, Anne, said.
His first call as a new pastor was to start a new church in a black community in Shreveport, a task that his wife said he was given during the height of racial unrest in the 1960s. “Crosses were burned on the church property and at our home by the KKK,’’ she said. Scheer persevered, and the couple stayed there nine years.
Kurtis Schultz, president of the Southern District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, described Scheer as an active pastor who took on many roles in the larger church body. He chaired the Southern District’s Missions Committee and was a circuit counselor, serving as a mentor to new pastors and also to students in a program called Distance Education Leading Toward Ordination.
Bob Belknap, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Bogalusa, came to the ministry through that program after careers as a lawyer and Marine colonel. He called Scheer a “tower of strength’’ whom he could call at any time with a question or issue. “He was always able to comfort, to teach and instruct. ... He had a calming effect on people. When you look at Jesus, he said, ‘Peace be to you,’ and that was pretty much what Ray followed,’’ Belknap said.
He always offered sterling advice, Belknap said, and “always, always reached out in love first.’’
Besides his wife, survivors include a son, Scott D. Scheer; two daughters, Cheryl Scheer Holsten and Beth Scheer Pepperman; a brother, Ralph Scheer; a sister, Laverne Kirkpatrick; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 1 North Marigold Drive, Covington. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at E.J. Fielding Funeral Home and Monday at Holy Trinity from 9 a.m. until the service.