Pete Ehli (1927 - 2018)

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December 21, 1927 -
September 7, 2018

Pius Thomas "Pete" Ehli, of Springfield, OR, age 90, died peacefully on Friday, September 7, 2018, at Sacred Heart University District Hospital in Eugene.

Born on December 21, 1927, in a pioneer-era log cabin in Verendrye, ND, Pete was the son of John and Katherine (Dosch) Ehli. He was raised near Verendrye, Karlsruhe, and Drake, ND. He worked on his family's farm and ran a threshing crew until enlisting in the U.S. Navy at age 17. Pete earned his GED while in the service and achieved the rank of Radioman Third Class.

As a radioman, he served aboard the U.S.S. Hector (AR-7), the U.S.S. Jason (ARH-24), and most notably from 1946-1948 on the U.S.S. Platte (AO-24), an oiler that supported fleet operations during the U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II. Aboard the Platte, he traveled between the oil docks of the Middle East and ports throughout Asia. Pete received the American Area medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the China Service medal, and the Navy Occupation medal. He was discharged on his 21st birthday.

After the Navy, Pete worked for the Federal Aviation Administration in Iliamna, AK. When he was younger he was an avid pilot and logged nearly enough flight hours for a commercial pilot rating.

Pete also worked in various jobs in Los Angeles, CA, and Des Moines, IA, eventually starting his career with the U.S. Postal Service in Des Moines. He moved to Eugene, OR in the early 1960s, where he met Dorothy Callow. They married on January 6, 1964, in Winnemucca, NV. They later divorced. Pete retired from the USPS in 1985. He worked as a window clerk at the University Station post office at the UO, as well as the Eugene main, Southside, and Gateway post offices. He was proud to be able to assist his family financially, including helping his parents purchase the first farm they owned outright.

Pete enjoyed gardening and working in his yard, listening to music, studying history, reading, watching sports, solving word puzzles, and entering contests. He took great pride in his German-Russian heritage, his North Dakota origins, and in his Naval service. He was a member of the American Legion.

A frugal man, he anticipated his 70th birthday, when he could acquire a free senior citizen fishing license. Pete then took himself on fishing excursions throughout the Willamette Valley, always in search of a Mom & Pop diner that lived up to his dreams. He was rather disappointed.

Pete was known for his dry sense of humor. He instilled in his children a fierce independent spirit and a love for learning, history, philately, numismatics, and deadpan wit. His daughter fondly remembers him taking his children to every Disney movie shown at the McDonald Theater (and to Farrell's afterward) and the gift of her first Schwinn bicycle, while his son is glad his father taught him how to play chess and gave him his first computer.

Pete is survived by his children, Michael Ehli of Eugene and Kathleen Ehli of Springfield, his brother Frank Ehli of Eugene, and many loving nieces and nephews. He was especially close to his niece Deborah Hanson Maves, who shared his love of family history. He was preceded in death by his brother John Ehli, and sisters Regina "Gina" Hanson, Katherine "Katie" Seibel, Magdalena "Mae" Meyers, Pauline Palmer, and Anna Marie Ehli. Another sister, Genevieve, died in infancy.

The family would like to thank his foster provider Picky Loftin and her family and Sacred Heart Hospice for their loving care. Donations in Pete's name may be made to the Germans from Russia Heritage Society ( or to the veterans' . Per his wishes, no service will be held. Military honors will be held at a later date. Arrangements by Musgrove Family Mortuary.

Published in Eugene Register-Guard on Sept. 16, 2018
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