Stephen Edwin EhlersNovember 5, 1955 ~ October 3, 2017 (age 61)
Stephen (“Steve”) Edwin Ehlers, born November 5, 1955, in Easton, Pennsylvania, was a kind-hearted, gregarious, fun-loving man with a zest for life. Diagnosed with brain cancer in March of this year, his struggle ended on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at the age of 61.
Steve was the son of the Rev. Dr. Edwin L. and Jane L. Ehlers, and grew up in New Jersey. A ballplayer and sports enthusiast in his younger years, Steve played varsity baseball at Hightstown High School. After graduating high school in 1974, Steve attended Lenoir Rhyne College in Hickory, North Carolina, graduating with his B.A. in 1978. He was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity. Steve then attended Lutheran Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, where he received his M. Div. in 1982 and became an ordained Lutheran minister.
A talented pastor, for the next 15 years Steve served congregations in Greensboro, North Carolina, Brunswick, Georgia, and Evans, Georgia. He loved his time in the ministry and was known for his creative sermons and ability to connect with young people, having led many youth groups on retreats to Lutheridge. He also served for several years as a police chaplain for the Brunswick (Georgia) Police Department.
It broke his heart to leave the ministry in the mid-1990s, but his resilience which characterized his whole life led him to a second career in finance, banking, and insurance. For the last 25 years of his life, he worked in various sales and management capacities for financial institutions, including the final four years when he owned and ran his own independent insurance agency in Gilbert, Arizona. Wherever he served and in whatever capacity, he always gave his best and was good at what he did. He sold his business after learning of his diagnosis and then moved to Fletcher, North Carolina, to be with family.
Steve is survived by his two children, John Stephen Ehlers (and spouse Jamie Williams) of New York City and Kristin Elizabeth Ehlers of Columbia, South Carolina. Steve loved his children and was incredibly proud of them. His biggest regret in life was not having more time to spend with them. Steve also is survived by his mother, Jane Ehlers of Fletcher, North Carolina; his sister, Linda Adelsberg (and spouse Lester) of Fletcher, North Carolina; and his brother, Mark Ehlers (and spouse Andrea Foulkes) of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. For the past two years, he found love and happiness with Susan Tate of Chicago, Illinois, with whom he had attended college many years before.
Steve loved to golf, hike, and camp. He was fascinated with World War II history, having lost an uncle in that war. He adopted and adored many greyhounds over the years and was active in local greyhound rescue organizations, often serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Weiner Mania Fundraiser for Greyhounds in Phoenix, Arizona. Although he lost his battle with Glioblastoma, he fought with dignity, humor, love, and class – just as he lived his life.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 7, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Nativity, 2425 Hendersonville Road, Arden, North Carolina, 28704. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Arizona Adopt-a-Greyhound, Inc. (http://arizonaadoptagreyhound.org/) in memory of Steve.