Mar. 10, 1923 - June 17, 2013
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SOUTH BEND - Edwin S. Ehlers, Purdue All-American, passed away on Monday morning, June 17th. Ed was born on March 10, 1923 in Joliet, IL, the son of Alfred and Verta Ehlers. On September 12, 1947 he married his college sweetheart, Joyce Slick, who preceded him in death in 2011. Surviving are his four children, Sally Dreisbach, Tom (Gwen) Ehlers, Polly Salak, and Patty Frazier. He was a great influence and teacher to his seventeen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. Ed attended South Bend Central High School where he played basketball and baseball for the legendary John Wooden. Ed always said that Wooden was the "coach of all coaches" who taught life's values on the court and was the biggest influence in his life. They remained loyal friends for life. Ed went on to Purdue University where he played football, basketball and baseball, and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. World War II and the call to duty interrupted his college career and he enlisted in the Army. After the war Ed returned to Purdue and in 1947 was the 1st round draft pick for the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bears and a bonus baby with the New York Yankees. He returned to South Bend, the city he loved, and began his business career as General Agent for Lincoln National Life. He served as president of the Michiana YMCA, was a St. Joseph County Parks and Recreation Commissioner and was involved in developing Elbel Golf Course. He also served on numerous boards and community organizations and enjoyed fishing, golf, travel and piloting his plane. At 70 he biked across Iowa in the RAGBRAI and did it again four more times! He loved the sun and sand, celebrating his 90th birthday this year in Florida, surrounded by family and friends. But no role was more important or rewarding than that of Father, Grandfather and Great-Grandfather. He would look around at family gatherings and say, "How'd this happen?" He always had a gracious dinner blessing prepared and could tell a great story, sing and dance. He will truly be missed by those who knew him and the lives he touched, influenced and inspired. The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 23rd in the Welsheimer Family Funeral Home North, 17033 Cleveland Rd., from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. A memorial service celebrating Ed's life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 24th in First Presbyterian Church, 333 W. Colfax Ave., South Bend. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Michiana YMCA, 1201 Northside Blvd., South Bend, IN 46615. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at www.welsheimer.com.
Published in South Bend Tribune from June 21 to June 22, 2013