I have lived in Manteca since 1983. I spent nearly my first 15 years in the Family City doing anything and everything I could to get back to my home in the North State.
By the time I got the call in the late 90’s that a job was waiting for me in Redding, it was too late. My kids were in high school or close to it, I was writing on and off for the Bulletin and another local paper, and I was part of a football program at one of the city’s high schools.
As time went on – heck, as life went on – my roots grew deeper here. And with those roots came more personal interactions, most of which I remember fondly and only a few I would like to forget.
A lot of those interactions were intertwined with families, either through my kids and their schools or coaching or journalism. One of the families I have known the longest and think of quite fondly is the Scharmann family. And recently the Scharmann family lost its patriarch, Bob.
I got to know Bob when his granddaughter Heather – now all grown up and the varsity volleyball coach at Lathrop High – was a wee tyke playing youth softball and I was part of the newspaper contingent on hand (I am still on hand, but it is not much of a contingent any more).
My sister once told my father that you see your immortality in the lines on your grandchild’s forehead. If that is the case Bob was immortalized 13 times and he had five great-grandchildren.
Of all his progeny – he and Anna had five children – I knew his son Gary’s family the best. Gary – like his dad did for 40 years – is a local baseball and football official in town. And the mere mention of someone being a referee can cause some to pop of and not in a good way. To those I would say without people like Bob and Gary, there would be no Friday Night Lights in this town. No section or state titles. And that would not be good.
While I did not know Bob the official, his reputation earned him a berth in the Manteca Sports Heroes Hall of Distinction in 2009, a distinction from what I can gather was well-earned. And he was not a stay-at-home grandparent, either. Often I saw him at his grandchildren’s athletic events, and then sometimes I would get an on-line message from him thanking me for being there to cover those events.
Bob, you will be missed. I know the pain your family is feeling, and I used to rationalize that pain when I lost someone by telling myself the pain was proportional to how good the person was that I had lost. And if that is the case, there are a lot of people in a lot of pain today.