Lois Jane Ehlert
1934 - 2021
BORN
1934
DIED
2021

Ehlert, Lois Jane

MILWAUKEE - Lois Jane Ehlert, 86, died Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at St. John's on the Lake, Milwaukee, Wis. Born Nov. 9, 1934, in Beaver Dam, to Harry and Gladys (Grace) Ehlert, from a very young age Lois knew she wanted to be an artist. After graduating from Beaver Dam High School in 1953, she received a scholarship to Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, where she earned a diploma in advertising design in 1957 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1959. She worked for several years at an art studio in Milwaukee before striking out on her own as a freelancer.

While she worked in many media throughout her career, designing banners and posters, games, puzzles, activity books and clothing for children, and the floor of the children's room at the Milwaukee Public Library, she is best known as the illustrator and author of children's books. Between 1961 and 2017, Lois illustrated and wrote over 50 books, earning a Caldecott Honor for her "Color Zoo" (1989) and wide acclaim for many others, including "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" (Martin & Archambault, 1989) and her autobiographical "The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life" (2014), which not only relates the support she got from her family growing up in Beaver Dam but gives an intimate look at her creative process.

While Lois is remembered by many for her creative accomplishments and her generous support of arts and nature organizations, to the family she will be long cherished as a loving sister to Shirley Dinsch of Beaver Dam and Richard (Patricia) Ehlert of Racine; a devoted aunt to James Dinsch of Florida, Jane (Richard) Eickhoff and Margaret (Michael) Sucharda; and great-aunt to Cali and Kailyn Eickhoff, all of Oak Creek. She is further survived by many cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents; her ex-husband, John Reiss; her brother-in-law, Donald Dinsch; and many aunts and uncles.

A memorial service will be held in Milwaukee at a later date. Memorials to the Beaver Dam Community Library, the Wisconsin Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, or the Cooperative Children's Book Center in Madison are suggested.


Published by WiscNews.com on Jun. 7, 2021.
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23 Entries
I knew and loved Lois Ehlert through her stories and artwork. I´ve devoted time in my own classroom to study the life of this author and illustrator and to encourage my young learners that they, too, can become authors and illustrators! Thank you, Lois Ehlert, for your inspiration through your stories and art!
Jen McDonell
Other
November 13, 2021
To the family, many, many friends, and colleagues of this wonderful woman, who was an illustrator known for children's books. That is the legacy Ms. Lois Ehlert left behind memorable children books including the classic "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom". She will not be forgotten. May the God of comfort bless your grieving hearts with strength, loving kindness and peace as the world copes with the loss of Ms. Ehlert. May family, friends and extended family cherish his memories.
Darlene
Friend
June 7, 2021
I am saddened to hear of Ms. Ehlert's passing. I worked in a Baraboo elementary school library for 26 years and her books were always favorites. Her artwork was simply amazing. Teachers loved 'Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf' in the fall. I especially enjoyed reading 'Nuts to You' and 'Snowballs' with the students. They were always delighted to learn she was from Wisconsin too! My sincere sympathies for your loss.
Pat Shear
Other
June 7, 2021
Thank you for bringing joy to children STILL with your beautiful illustrations. You will truly be loved and celebrated forever.
Victoria Rosas
Friend
June 3, 2021
So sorry Lois Ehlert has died. A beautiful, talented woman. She will always be remembered. Her work is timeless. Thoughts and prayers to the family.
June 2, 2021
I am so sorry to read about her death. I remember reading her books to my 2 daughters in bed. May the God of all comfort be with her family. What a great writer.
Yvonne Marcuzzi
June 1, 2021
Oh by far, one of the best written and illustrated children’s books. Many a Friday afternoon story time with my first and second graders were spent enthralled by the cadence and illustrations of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Then my own daughters and grandsons would fall asleep to the rhythm of the book.
Rest In Peace . You have reinforced the alphabet for many children in such a great and colorful way.
Anne Marie De Stefano
June 1, 2021
Our condolences go out to the Ehlert family on the death of Lois. She’ll be missed by many.
LeeRoy
Neighbor
June 1, 2021
My late artist husband Arthur and I admired her colorful and playful books and purchased them for our grand children. We knew her here in Milwaukee and she was always so gracious. She never failed to create imaginative books. She once told me she only would use major publishers. I will miss her.
Win Thrall
Acquaintance
May 31, 2021
Sincere sympathies to the Ehlert family, as you shed your tears over your loss, may you draw strength and comfort from God to help you through this most difficult time of your loss.
May 31, 2021
Please accept my heartfelt condolences. May God continue to be with the family during challenging times.
May 31, 2021
My sincere condolences to the family of a beloved children’s book author. May the God of tender mercies comfort you as you mourn.
Mary
Neighbor
May 31, 2021
My condolences.
May 30, 2021
I taught K4 at Garfield Elementary School in Milwaukee for 24 years. For several years in the late 1990's and early 2000"s we put on a big production of Lois' book Circus for our school families. The school gym was transformed into a elaborate circus ring with K4 students, costumes and all, performing each page of the book to circus music. We invited Lois each year and she graciously came to share in the event. We so appreciated having such a distinguished and creative children's book author and illustrated come to our school. The children loved to know that the author/illustrator of this book wanted to see tour youngest students perform her book. We thank her for giving our staff and students such an awesome experience filled with wonderful memories..
Niki Rogers Rogers
Acquaintance
May 30, 2021
I had the great honor to be Lois Ehlert's letter carrier for a few years at her apartment and studio. We had great conversions at the mailbox from current events, her artistic career and when she was artist in residence at my kid's grade school in Wauwatosa.

My grandsons also loved her work as did their parents.

I will cherish our conversations and treasure her Christmas greeting cards that she made for me.
Scott Van Derven
Acquaintance
May 30, 2021
God is a God of all Comfort and he will Comfort the family's..My heartfelt condolences to the family's..
May 30, 2021
Dear Ehlert Family,
For three years my first grade students used colored construction paper to reproduce their versions of Ms. Ehlert's cover to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. They were displayed on Back to School Night, an eye catching bulletin board. I wish I had photos to share. My condolences.
Robert Garner
Teacher
May 29, 2021
Absolutely loved her books! As an elementary teacher her books & art were essential to meI have just recently been sharing her books with my 3 year old grand daughter. RIP Lois Ehlert
Linda Wilson
Linda Wilson
Linda Wilson
May 29, 2021
My prayers are with her loved ones I remember her from our first days as students at Layton School of Art who was a quiet person like I was.. We were friends during those beginning days and shared our thoughts. She blossomed into the person she became and has been a blessing to children through her life.
Nola Gondek
Friend
May 28, 2021
My condolences to her friends and family she was an incredible artist and she is a beautiful soul may she rest in peac
David P Call
Coworker
May 27, 2021
Heartfelt condolences to the Ehlert family and friends, so very sorry for your loss. May God be with you all at this very difficult time.
May 27, 2021
Lois Ehlert was a favorite author for me and my children. I used her books often in my classroom making units of study around a theme. She was a wonderful artist, and should be found in the local grocery store sizing up fruit or other items to use in her work. She will be greatly missed, although her wonderful books will live on.
Gretchen Farrar-Foley
May 27, 2021
Scott Chamberland
May 27, 2021
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