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walter scherr (8)

Here & There…At Belmont Park

Belmont Stakes By The Numbers

2: Fillies to win in the first 39 runnings – Ruthless in 1867 and Tanya in 1905.

4: Winners sired by Lexington in first 11 editions – General Duke (1868), Kingfisher (1870), Harry Bassett (1871) and Duke Of Magenta (1878).

6: Belmont Stakes wins by owners James R. Keane and Belair Stud, the record.

5: Consecutive Belmont Stakes wins by trainer Woody Stephens from 1982 to 1986 with Conquistador Cielo, Caveat, Swale, Crème Fraiche and Danzig Connection.

102: Years between winning fillies – Tanya in 1905 and Rags To Riches in 2007.

1: Trainer to condition two Triple Crown winners. James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons did it with Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935. Bob Baffert could become the second with a Belmont win by Justify.

4: Tracks to host the Belmont Stakes – Jerome Park (1867-89) in the Bronx, Morris Park (1890-1904), Aqueduct (1963-67) and – of course – Belmont Park (1905-62 and 1968-2018). The race was not run in 1911 and 1912 due to anti-gambling legislation.

10: Owners with back-to-back winners, most recently Meadow Stable with Riva Ridge in 1972 and Secretariat in 1973.

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Walter Scherr was a depression era kid who survived tuberculosis and six years in a sanatorium to become a leader in the business community. He was a boardroom millionaire and a key figure in the early days of the high-tech revolution. Walter’s story connects the dots between those lives he touched and those that touched his. He held the positions of Executive Vice President (1993-1995) and Chief Financial Officer (1990-1993) at Veeco Instruments Inc., becoming a director in 2005. He has also served as a consultant for the company since 1995. He served as General Manager of the UPA Technology Division in the 1980s, as well as a variety of other financial and operating management positions with Litton Industries and Sperry Gyroscope Co, including group Vice President. However, Walter was not only an executive, but also a visionary — in the 1980’s, he was the Principal and Founder of Visual Sciences Inc./Panafax (the first publicly traded facsimile company). He was also an Associate Professor at Farmingdale State School and Co-Founder of The Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation.

Listen to the interview Here:

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Walter Scherr Interview

Moe and Walter Scherr talk about how he was a Depression era kid who survived tuberculosis and six years in a sanatorium to become a leader in the business community; a boardroom millionaire; and a key figure in the early days of the high-tech revolution.

Walter’s Way: The Making of a Remarkable Humanitarian

What a treat it was for me today to share part of my day with one of the more remarkable human beings I’ve ever been around, .  At 91 years young, he’s the quintessential entrepreneur who, in the process of making the world a better place, leaves everyone in his presence better off.   His character is one of dignity and trust, his example is one I would want my son to emulate, and his moral strength is what superhero movies are built around.  

Having dedicated his professional career to building businesses in technology and oil & gas, he now directs his energy to perhaps his most important project - The Center for Discovery.  As you’ll pick up in this conversation, there’s no better humanitarian on the planet with as much determination to serve those less fortunate:  

Here’s what he’ll share: 

  • How he evaluates his life - both personally and professionally
    How adversity has shaped his character
  • Building mental resilience & dealing with his lowest moments
  • The time he knew he wanted to run a business
  • Why management by walking around ignites the best in others
  • The greatest lesson he learned from Mother Teresa
    The business philosophy inherent in the 3-in-1 egg theory

Listen to the interview:


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A $1.9 Million Gift to Help Educate Mental Health Professionals 

Walter J. Scherr likes to kick the tires of an organization before he becomes a donor.

The 88-year-old Queens native and retired businessman founded Visual Sciences Inc., one of the first publicly traded fax companies. Over his 60 years of buying and selling businesses, Mr. Scherr says that he likes to evaluate a company by examining the balance sheet, profit-and-loss statements and the intellectual property of an organization.

This is an approach Mr. Scherr took about a decade ago when he became a donor to the Center for Discovery, a provider of education and residential services for children and adults with autism and other medical complexities in Harris, N.Y.

Walter J. Scherr

Over the last decade, Mr. Scherr has given some $500,000 to the charity for staff scholarships. His four children have made a $1 million gift to create the Walter & Vera Scherr Learning Lab, so named for their father and late mother. Mr. Scherr has pledged to raise another $900,000 for the lab before his 90th birthday. The $1.9 million will be announced Tuesday night during the Center for Discovery's annual gala in New York.

The learning lab will allow staff members to continue their advanced education and share their expertise with others who care for people with severe and complex disabilities, medical frailties and individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Mr. Scherr, who now lives in Sarasota, Fla., was introduced to the charity by chance during a casual conversation with his surgeon, George J. Todd, an expert in carotid artery surgery and chairman of the department of surgery at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center.

Dr. Todd asked Mr. Scherr what interested him philanthropically and Mr. Scherr shared his interest in helping co-workers who, as a result of a birth accident, had suffered from cerebral palsy. Over the years, he'd seen the challenges his co-workers had faced and, as a result, set up a fund for them upon his retirement.

It was a moment of kismet for the two men as Dr. Todd shared with Mr. Scherr his involvement in the Center for Discovery. Dr. Todd asked Mr. Scherr to visit, as a personal favor, to evaluate the center on a business level. During Mr. Scherr's visit, he asked to see the organization's books, examine the place on his own and write an evaluation of what he saw. Mr. Scherr was impressed and made his first gift in 2004.

"There's nothing like seeing the operation itself," says Mr. Scherr. "I tell other people, 'I can't guarantee anything after you go up and see the Center for Discovery, but I can tell you for the next week you won't sweat the small stuff.'"

It was more than just the financials and the dedicated staff that persuaded Mr. Scherr in his giving to the Center for Discovery. He considers himself extremely lucky in life. He survived the Depression and tuberculosis, which was discovered during a routine Army medical evaluation to serve in World War II.

"The gospel says take care of my children and I'll take care of you," cites Mr. Scherr, who believes that the Center for Discovery staff members all have a place "upstairs." Then, Mr. Scherr says with a laugh, "I'm hoping I can come in on their coattails."

Write to Melanie Grayce West at

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Ozone Park


The platform at the Rockaway Boulevard subway station – Ozone Park’s busiest transit hub – in 1982. 

Though it is 10 miles from the nearest ocean, the sea breeze is what brought people to Ozone Park – and it’s what the neighborhood is named for.

The history of Ozone Park dates back to 1882, when the neighborhood was founded in what was then a rural part of Queens County located on a plain sloping toward Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

The neighborhood was settled near the small hamlet of Centreville, near the current location of Centreville Street and Albert Road. Ozone Park got its name by the 19th Century term for ocean breezes – ozone – meant to attract urban dwellers from Manhattan and Brooklyn to the suburban-like atmosphere with sea breezes coming off the Atlantic.

The Long Island Rail Road came through two years after the neighborhood’s founding, with two stations, the Ozone Park station at 101st Avenue and 100th Street, and Aqueduct at the current Aqueduct-North Conduit Avenue subway station.
That triggered a population boom in the neighborhood and over the next century, In 1915, the subway came to the neighborhood when the elevated line over Liberty Avenue, which now carries the ‘A’ train, was constructed between Brooklyn and Lefferts Boulevard, allowing for quicker commutes to Manhattan.

By the mid-20th Century, the community became a destination for first- and second-generation Italian and Irish immigrants and grew to be one of the most prominent Italian-American communities in the country. Ozone Park became well known for being a working class community where faith and family reigned supreme.


With the Italian-Americans came what some argue is the best pizza in the United States, and some of the best Italian food this side of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the mid- to late-20th Century, Ozone Park became a hub of Mafia activities. It was here where large trucks stolen from JFK Airport during the Lufthansa heist were hidden on residential streets, and it was on 101st Avenue where Mafia don John Gotti set up shop at the Bergen Hunt and Fish Club. In 1984, Gotti’s reality show-star daughter Victoria was married at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Church, the gothic-style green spire-topped house of worship that dominates the neighborhood’s skyline and proudly states the neighborhood’s Roman Catholic heritage.

Indeed SMGH is one of several Catholic churches in the community, which include Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Elizabeth and St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr churches.

Since the late 1980s, the demographic of the neighborhood has changed dramatically. Though there is still a noticeable Italian-American presence, a growing population of Indo-Caribbeans – especially Guyanese and Trinidadian – and South Asians have made Ozone Park their home. Today, Ashrams, gurdwaras and mosques join the imposing Catholic churches, as Ozone Park becomes a center of faith and family for another generation of immigrants.

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Walter's Way won the Literary Classics and Children's Literary Classics (CLC) 
Lumen Award for Literary Excellence

Gold Award for College Audience Inspirational/Visionary

          Gold Award for High School Audience - Nonfiction


Literary Classics and Children's Literary Classics (CLC) Book Awards and Reviews were created by Taj Mahal Publishing Inc., a division of Wildflower Press and publishers of Mud Pie Parenting Magazine, a Midwestern publication. When the editors of Taj Mahal Publishing first set out to help promote excellence in children's literature, they discovered the challenges in sorting through all the children's books on the market. With the insurgence of books being released through the self-publishing market, it became increasingly apparent that now, more than ever, parents were in need of resources to help filter through all the books available to children and young adults. Literary Classics Book Awards and Reviews were created for two reasons . . . to help authors gain recognition for their work and to help parents find the best in literature for children and young adults.

Literary Classics continues to honor excellence in literature for children and young adults with their annual awards program. All books submitted for consideration are first submitted to the Literary Classics Review Department where reviewers score each book based upon a 100 point judging rubric. Books that score 80 points or higher are forwarded on to the judges for consideration in the annual book awards.

The Literary Classics Mission:

At Literary Classics, it is our mission to honor excellence in children's and young adult literature, thereby encouraging a passion for reading while promoting education, imagination and character in young readers.

The Latin text on the Literary Classics awards seal affirms the Literary Classics Mission Statement. Loosely translated, it states that classic literature is: The key to knowledge and creativity while promoting strong core values.


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Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the book Walter’s Way, by Walter Scherr, has been selected to receive the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.  The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.

Walter Scherr grew up in Queens, New York during the depression.  He, along with the buddies he'd known since childhood, couldn't wait to enlist in the army as part of their patriotic duty.  But after taking the required physical Walter was diagnosed with Tuberculosis, a life-threatening and highly contagious illness.  He spent the next seven years in quarantine fighting the dreaded disease while his friends were off fighting in the war.  After finally being released with a clean bill of health he went on to become a successful and highly influential business man.  His road to success was riddled with speed bumps and detours.  But with a strong sense of purpose, high ideals, and a willingness to learn, he had a tremendous impact in the U.S. and abroad, making positive changes that are still causing ripples in how businesses operate today.  This a compelling story that will encourage and inspire readers of all ages.  Walter's Way is highly recommended and has earned the Literary Classics Seal of Approval.

Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature for young readers, takes great pride in its role to help promote classic literature which appeals to youth while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations.   To learn more about Literary Classics, you may visit their website at or

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We are pleased to share with you a wonderful article that appeared in the Greenwich Post about Walter’s book and efforts to honor Pvt. Francis Bowen timed for Memorial Day observances: 

Walter J. Scherr’s life and legacy has been propelled by the inspiration of those who served and sacrificed during World War II, a time when Scherr himself desperately wanted to fight for his country but could not.

Born in Queens in 1924, Scherr was not quite old enough to join the Army when the U.S. entered World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Six months later, Scherr went straight from his high school graduation to the local enlistment office, expecting to make his heroic mark on the war. Instead, he was stopped in his tracks with a diagnosis of active tuberculosis, a disease that was incurable at the time. Young Scherr was quarantined in a sanatorium for the next seven years, while all of his peers selflessly served their country—some making the ultimate sacrifice.

Though he got a late start, Scherr had a successful career as a corporate executive and entrepreneur, helping introduce the fax machine worldwide and making groundbreaking advancements in data storage. Scherr met Mother Teresa, traveled the world, gained, lost, and regained a fortune.

When Scherr began to write his autobiography, Walter’s Way: How a Relief Kid Survived TB, Corporate Betrayal, Bankruptcy, Made Millions, and Touched the Lives of Billions, he was compelled to honor the caretakers of the world, like those who cared for him during his years in a sanatorium, and the World War II service members who have so inspired him. Scherr began to look for someone from his childhood neighborhood of Ozone Park who gave his life during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. It was important to Scherr to form a personal connection to tragedy of the war.

Scherr found Pvt. Francis Nelson Bowen, who was living in Ozone Park, just like Scherr, when he enlisted in the Army. Bowen was engaged to Ada Murphy when he went overseas to fight with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He never came home. Serving as a medic, Bowen died trying to save the life of another paratrooper. He left behind his parents, older brother Harold, “Harry,” and sister, Gertrude, “Sissy.”

At age 90, Scherr traveled to the beaches of Normandy and the American cemetery there, to pay his respects at Bowen’s grave. In Walter’s Way, Scherr honored Bowen by prominently featuring his story.

This spring, through the connections of social media, Scherr was able to meet Ginger Rica, the daughter of Bowen’s sister and niece he never got to meet. The two met at Scherr’s residence in Naples, Florida.

This Memorial Day, Scherr joins the nation in honoring all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect American freedoms. He is proud to continue honoring Pvt. Francis Bowen, and he hopes more people seek to learn the stories of those who died for our country.

Scherr dedicates many of his resources to the support of The Center for Discovery, an internationally-renowned treatment center and school for children and adults with complex medical conditions. The Vera and Walter J. Scherr Hurleyville Maker’s Lab in Hurleyville, N.Y., was primarily funded by the Vera and Walter Scherr Family Foundation, and supports innovation and creativity in the small Catskills town. All proceeds of Walter’s Way are donated to The Center for Discovery. This summer, Scherr is working with the 82nd Airborne Division to increase educational support for its troops.


The article was developed and submitted by Amanda Loviza 

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