Obituary: Emily Jean Ehler, 1932-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Emily Jean Ehler, 1932-2021 

Family matriarch embarked on her final RV adventure

Published November 2, 2021 at 6:05 a.m. | Updated November 2, 2021 at 1:47 p.m.

click to enlarge Emily Ehler - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Emily Ehler

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Emily Jean Ehler of Essex Junction, Vt. On the morning of October 24, 2021, Emily packed up her RV and headed out on the road for her journey to heaven. Mom was the quintessential mother, wife, grandmother (Mommy Em), great-grandmother, aunt and friend. Mom was the rock of our family, always weathering the storms of her life and our collective lives with grace and kindness. She taught us how to move forward through challenges and to give to others unselfishly.

With strength and determination, Mom helped Dad build the family business, Ehler’s RV in Essex. The family business was just that — a place where many customers became family. Mom and Dad traveled extensively with their RV friends, caravanning throughout the U.S. They also had the opportunity to travel to Japan and Germany (with 11 Ehler family members in tow).

Emily was born in Shelbyville, Tenn., on February 16, 1932. She met her future husband, Duke Ehler, while he was stationed there in the U.S. Air Force. They moved to Vermont under “Operation Coldspot” and never left. They raised their family in the First Congregational Church in Essex Junction. Mom volunteered for the church food pantry, Meals on Wheels, Shriner Ladies Group and Eastern Star, and she held offices in the FMCA and WIT clubs.

When Mom and Dad weren’t traveling, you could find them with family and friends. Mom loved their camp in Georgia, Vt., lovingly called Ehlerville Lakeside. It was there that family gathered and created beautiful memories together on the shores of Lake Champlain. Over the years, she could also be found at her grandkids’ sports and school events, cheering them on with pride. She was a lady who was happiest when she was busy and with friends, family and pets.

Emily leaves her husband of 69 years, Alden “Duke” Ehler, of Essex, Vt.; daughters Linda Kilpatrick of Tennessee, Debbie Ehler Holland of Essex, Vt., and Donna (Steve) Ehler-Vock of South Burlington, Vt.; son-in-law Dan Holland; and daughter-in-law Karen Ehler. She was a loving grandmother to Iris (Ben) Rieben, Danny Kilpatrick, Jennifer and Meghan Holland, Tyler (Megan) Vock, Kayleigh and Kyle Ehler-Vock, and Jackson Ehler. She was blessed with great-grandchildren McKenzie, Pearson and Spencer Rieben, Trace and Kinsley Kilpatrick, and baby Otis Vock. She leaves her sister-in-law Janie Bartlette, a niece and nephews. She was predeceased by her son Michael Ehler, brother Roy Bartlette, son-in-law Dan Kilpatrick Sr., and grandchildren Matthew and Maria Ehler-Vock and Charles Alden Ehler.

The family would like to thank all those involved in Mom’s care: doctors, nurses, family and friends, Mansfield Place staff, and University of Vermont Home Health & Hospice.

Visiting hours will be held Thursday, November 4, from 4 to 7 p.m., at First Congregational Church, 39 Main St., Essex Junction. Emily’s celebration of life will be held Friday, November 5, at 2 p.m., at First Congregational Church, with reception to follow. A private burial will take place on Saturday, November 6, at Resurrection Park.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution in Emily’s memory to the First Congregational Church, 39 Main St., Essex Junction, VT 05452. Please note Heavenly Food Pantry/Emily Ehler on the memo line or contribute online via bill pay at; or to the Ehler Family and Friends Team with American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life or a charity of your choice.

The family also invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting

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