In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Robert Sherer, 73

Robert H. ShererRobert Hollis Sherer, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among East Asian Peoples in Japan, died June 14, 2019. He was 73.

Born Nov. 4, 1945, in East St. Louis, Ill., Bobby sailed for Japan in 1948 with his parents, Robert and Helen Sherer, who were starting a career as missionaries in Japan. After language school, Sherer’s parents moved to Kobe, where Sherer mostly grew up.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology degree from William Jewell College, Liberty, Mo., and a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

His junior year in college, Sherer attended a Baptist Student Union meeting in Springfield, Mo., and felt the Lord calling him into the ministry, possibly missions.

He married Claudia Kruer on June 22, 1968, while at Southwestern. “In November of 1969 at Missions Day at seminary, we made public our commitment to missions, if that was the Lord’s will,” Sherer wrote as he sought missionary appointment. The Sherers were appointed IMB missionaries in 1971 and arrived in Japan the next January to “terrible traffic, masses of people, maze of trains, and … penetrating cold,” they wrote in their first missionary newsletter.

But their first visit “home” to Kobe, here Sherer had grown up was “even better than our expectations, beginning with Bobby driving straight home despite predictions that he’d not recognize the old home town,” they wrote.

After two years of language school in Tokyo, the Sherers moved to Matsuyama, the largest city on the island of Shikoku, where they were the only Southern Baptist missionaries in a city of 400,000. They would spend most of their lives sharing their faith and helping to strengthen and start churches in Matsuyama, where they raised three children.

The Sherers were living in the parsonage of Matsuyama Nishi Baptist Church when Sherer died.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Claudia; and their children Laura, Amanda and Scott.