Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 13:05:31 :
Monday, January 21, 1974
John B. Ehlen, Attorney, Dies
John B. Ehlen, former Sausalito mayor who also served as city attorney for Sausalito and Corte Madera for many years, died yesterday in a San Francisco hospital after a short illness.
He was 72.
Ehlen was a colorful figure, known in both Marin and San Francisco for his wit and his love of quoting Shakespeare from memory.
He was born in Groton, S.D., the son of a Lutheran minister who died when Ehlen was a small child.
The family moved to California in 1914 and lived in Orange County. Young Ehlen was first educated to become a minister, and graduated from Concordia College in Oakland in 1922. He then attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he also earned an AB degree. In 1927 Ehlen was graduated from Boalt Hall law school.
While at the University, Ehlen served as the first student president of Phi Beta Kappa. He taught German in order to finance his education and also played semi-professional baseball.
Ehlen began his law practice in San Francisco after earning his law degree and specialized in probate cases. He contributed to a textbook on probate law, widely used by law students.
He was named mayor of Sausalito in 1944 and served on the city council through 1948, when he became city attorney. He also served as Corte Madera’s city attorney for 14 years, resigning both posts in 1961.
Ehlen married his wife, Alice, in 1935, and the family home for many years has been at 33 Prospect Avenue in Sausalito.
Through the years, Ehlen participated in many civic activities, both in Marin and San Francisco.
He was a member of the Elks Lodge in San Rafael, Sausalito Rotary Club, Marin Rod and Gun Club, Commonwealth club, the San Francisco Press Club and the Meadow Club as well as the state Bar Association of California.
He also served as the first president of the Servicemen’s Club in Sausalito during World War II and of the Marin County Society for Crippled Children and Adults.
From 1948 to 1962 he was a member of the Marin County Republican Central Committee.
Several years ago, Ehlen filled out a biographical form for the Independent-journal, and he included the remark, “I have discovered that you get out of life what you put into it. As you live and as you do, the universe reacts to you,” he wrote.
He is survived by his wife; a son, John, of the Philippines; two sisters, Hertha and Martha Ehlen of Orange County, and three grandsons.
No funeral will be held at Ehlen’s request.
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