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O. Dean Ehlers


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
O. Dean Ehlers Obituary
O. Dean Ehlers

Harrisonburg, VA

O. Dean Ehlers, 87, of Harrisonburg, passed away on February 19, 2017, at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. He was born on June 22, 1929, in Campbell Hill, IL. He was the son of the late Arnold Ehlers, Sr. and Elsie Vogt Ehlers. He graduated from Campbell Hill Community HIgh, Central College in MO., and received a Masters of Education from the University of Missouri.

On August 15, 1951, he married Joanne Mershon of Buckner, MO, who is deceased. He is, also, survived by his children, Debra Zwanzig and her husband, Bill, of Mt. Crawford, VA, David and his wife, Sarah of Philomath, OR, Doug and his wife, Julie of Richmond, VA, Don and his wife, Barbara of Luray, VA. His grandchildren are Macy Zwanzig, her husband, Peder Brakke, Adrian Zwanzig, Kelsy Zwanzig, her husband, Brent Hill, Micah Zwanzig, Jessica Irwin, her husband, Bryan Irwin, Emily Wakefield, her husband Joey Wakefield, Jacob Ehlers, Jodie Ehlers, Rosemary Ehlers and Eppie Ehlers. His great grandchildren are Delphine Jo Zwanzig Brakke, Madelyn Irwin and Lucas Wakefield. Other survivors include sister Mae and husband, Leroy Rieckenberg, in-laws Carolyn Mershon, Louise Mershon, Barbara Querry, Ed and Pam Mershon, Richard and Sue Mershon, Tom and Janet Mershon, Jack and Priscilla Mershon, Linda and William Powell and many neices and nephews. He was preceded by brother, Arnold Ehlers, Jr. and sister, Midge O'Brien.

Dean was devoted to his family, his church and involvement in education and athletics. He was honored as an All-State selection in basketball by the Illinois High School Basketball Coaches Assoc, All MCAU {Missouri College Athletic Union) four years and 2nd Team All American in basketball. He played professional baseball in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization and was on the Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, post teams in basketball and baseball during the Korean War.

Dean's professional career following baseball included teaching and coaching at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, WI, and Memphis State University. He was the first full-time Athletic Director for Memphis City Schools and the first full-time Director of Atheletics at James Madison University.

He served as President of the ECAC South Athletic Conference when the Colonial Athletic Association was formed. The CAA annually presents The Dean Ehlers Leadership Award to the CAA male and female basketball athlete who best "embody the highest standards of leadership, integrity and best sportsmanship through their academic and atheltic achievements". He, also, served as President of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Other honors include induction into the Illinois Sports Hall of Fame, Basketball Hall of Fame as a player, the Central College Athletics Hall of Fame, the James Madison University Athletics Hall of Fame, the National Association of College Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Dean was a member of Asbury Methodist Church and served in several leadership positions. He was a member of the Harrisonburg Rotary Club.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, MARCH 25, 2016, at 11:00 am at Asbury Methodist Church in Harrisonburg. There will be visitation after the service at the church. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Asbury United Methodist Church, 205 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801 or JMU Duke Club, MSC 2301, Harrisonburg, VA 22807

Arrangements are with

Kyger Funeral Home, Harrisonburg, VA.

Condolences may be shared at www.kygers.com.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Feb. 22, 2017
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