Ed was born in Joliette, Ill. on March 10, 1923 the son of Alfred Ehlers and Verta Sheffield. Ed and his family moved to South Bend, Ind. where he began his legacy at South Bend Central High School being mentored, coached and influenced by the late, great John Wooden.
After high school Ed attended Purdue University where he was a three-sport “All American” athlete and member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. A proud Boilermaker, Ed was graced by the fortune of meeting the love of his life while attending Purdue.
Joyce Slick and Ed Ehlers were married for 63 years and built a successful life, raised a beautiful family and eventually helped raise and influence 17 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Like many of the men from his era he was called to duty to serve in World War II. Just as unique as he was, his service to our country wasn’t fought on the battlefield but on the courts and fields across the nation. His athletic gift was used to keep the morale and spirits positive for the service men serving around the country and fighting around the world.
After returning from the war Ed finished his scholastic obligation and went on to begin his professional athletic career. Ed played basketball for the Boston Celtics, baseball in the Cubs and Yankees organizations and declined a draft invitation to play football for the George Halas Chicago Bears.
After a successful run in the professional sports arena Ed and Joyce decided to settle back at “home” in South Bend to build a family, a life and a business. Ed started his work in the insurance business with Lincoln National Life Insurance Company and was an active member of the community. He served as the president of the South Bend YMCA, was the St. Joe County Parks and Recreation Commissioner as well as serving on numerous boards and trustee committees and organizations.
Ed worked over 30 years in the insurance field, building a practice and earning the respect, admiration and loyalty of friends and community members in Northern Indiana and throughout the state.
He and Joyce also wintered in Boca Grande since 1982. He started the Boca Grande Men’s Book Club more than 20 years ago, and was an avid fisherman, and charter member of the Lemon Bay Country Club.
He was also an avid bicyclist, and would ride his bike from Boca Grande to Arcadia to tutor the children of the migrant workers and teach them baseball, football and basketball, then ride his bike back to Boca Grande.
Ed was a widower and blessed with four children – Sally Dreisbach, Tom (Gwen) Ehlers, Polly Salak and Patty Frazier.
He will truly be missed by all those who knew him and all the lives he touched, influenced and inspired. As Ed looks down on us all today he would want us to not mourn his loss but remember and cherish his memory.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to South Bend Hospice.
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