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AN ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF S vehicle sits next to a house on Country Club Circle where two bodies were found Friday in Pleasanton s Castlewood Country Club neighborhood.
PLEASANTON — A man and a woman were found dead Friday afternoon inside a home at the Castlewood Country Club and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department is investigating their deaths as homicides.

Deputies did not identify the dead people, but an e-mail sent out to club members by the Castlewood Property Owners

Association identified the victims as Ernie Scherer, 60, a former San Ramon Valley school board member, and his wife, Charlene Abendroth, 57, a lecturer at California State University, East Bay.

Neighbors and property records also identified the occupants of the home as Scherer and Abendroth.

Anne Anderson of the association said in her e-mail that the couple's daughter had called the association to say that she could not reach them, and someone from the club went to the home at 18 Castlewood Drive and found their bodies.

Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said the bodies were found about 12:30 p.m. He said the names of the two people would not be identified until today, nor would the cause or times of death be released.

"We've got two bodies," Nelson said. "That's all I can say now."

Nelson said he could not sayhow long the people had been dead; however, newspapers had stacked up in a mailbox outside the home. About five to six days' worth of papers were visible in the box Friday.

Scherer, a CPA, was a former San Ramon Valley Unified school board member who was recalled from the board in 1990. He had a long and troubled history with the district. He was elected to the board in 1988, but two years later he was ousted along with another board member amidst a teachers strike and allegations that the district was on the verge of bankruptcy.

After the recall, Scherer remained a presence in the district, where he was well-known by school chiefs for his constant and persistent allegations of district mismanagement of taxpayer funds.

Abendroth had been teaching at Cal State East Bay in Hayward for about 20 years, although she wasn't teaching this quarter, university spokesman Barry Zepel said.

In addition to lecturing in the accounting and finance department, she advised the school's accounting club.

In 2006, she was named "Adviser of the Year" along with accounting professor Suzanne Busch for their work as faculty advisers to the accounting club.

At Castlewood Country Club, nearby neighbors said Scherer and Abendroth were a quiet couple, and they didn't see them often.

Anderson, from the association, said she and her husband interviewed the couple when they wanted to move in between a year and a half and two years ago.

"They're a delightful couple," she said. "We had dinner with them last Friday night" at a country club member gathering, she said.

"We're all so shocked and sad," she said, adding that they were good neighbors.

At last week's dinner, she said, "They spoke very highly of their kids and were excited that they were coming to visit."

According to neighbor Christine Early and property records, the house was formerly owned by the parents of professional golfer Paula Creamer.

Real estate agent Marty Sborov, who lives across the street from the crime scene, said she sold the house to Scherer and Abendroth in early 2006. Sborov said she last saw Scherer on March 1.

Throughout the 1990s, and as recently as during the last several weeks, Scherer protested against new taxes proposed by the San Ramon Valley school district to help pay for school renovations and to offset state shortages of education funds.

Joan Buchanan, a longtime school board member who is running for State Assembly, was one of five new board members elected after the San Ramon Valley recall, after she successfully campaigned that the board needed an overhaul.

"The one thing I will say about Ernie is that he was open and honest and true to his values whether you agreed with him or not," she said. "I think it's a tragedy even though we were on different sides of the political spectrum most of the time."

In 2006, Scherer brought to the Contra Costa County grand jury and the media allegations — based on district financial documents — that the district intentionally underestimated its income to increase voter support for a 2004 parcel tax. 

In July, the grand jury concluded its term without a report into the allegations. School officials interpreted the lack of a report as proof that Scherer's charges were wrong.

Last month, when San Ramon Valley Unified officials announced they would ask voters in June to increase and extend an existing parcel tax measure, Scherer said he planned to campaign against the measure. District officials have said the extra funds are needed to offset anticipated state education budget cuts.

The country club also was the scene of two deaths in 1997 when 67-year-old Gordon Monteath, a resident on Fairway Lane, fatally shot his wife, 41-year-old Pamela Monteath, and then killed himself.

Pamela Monteath had apparently told her husband that she was leaving him. He returned a few moments after hearing the news and opened fire.

The murder-suicide was witnessed by the Monteaths' teen daughter.

Reporters Martin Ricard, Jeanine Benca, Sophia Kazmi and Eric Kurhi contributed to this story.