John took his last swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean he loved on the morning of July 24, 2012. He had resided at the Veterans Home of California in Chula Vista, CA.
He was born in Dunkirk, NY on March 16, 1929, to Lucy Cary Ehrke and Walter Ehrke. He was a former resident of Forestville, Dunkirk and Buffalo, NY.
John graduated from Forestville Central School in 1946 and at the age of 17, enlisted in the U.S. Navy which enabled him to travel the world while serving two tours of duty beginning with the USS Toledo. He was honorably discharged in September of 1953.
John L. Ehrke
As a civilian, he worked as a tool and die man with the Ford Motor Company Stamping plant in Buffalo, NY, for 16 years, where he was actively involved with the UAW.
John moved to California to take a job with aerospace leader Lockheed in San Jose and then with Solar Turbines in San Diego before returning to the automotive industry. He worked with General Motors Company assembly plant in Los Angeles before finishing out his career with McDonald Douglas Aerospace, also in Los Angeles.
An avid bicyclist, he rode his bicycle over 2,800 miles from Long Beach, Calif., to Dunkirk, NY, when he was 49 years young. He completed his journey in 21 days, riding as far as 217 miles in a single day.
He was formerly married to Margaret Hagen Ehrke of Buffalo, NY, with whom he had three sons, Wiley Ehrke of San Clemente, CA; John Ehrke of Alpine, Texas and Jeff Ehrke of Los Alamitos, CA.
He is survived by his sister, Martha E. Gens of Sheridan, NY; and two brothers, Tom Ehrke of Escondido, CA, and Jim Ehrke of Paso Robles, CA.
John's cremains will be scattered over the Pacific Ocean alongside where he loved to ride his bicycle and where he loved to swim, sail, live and work. John especially enjoyed having a few beers with good friends.