Obituary for Stephen Patterson Ehle
Stephen Patterson Ehle died on January 15, 2019, at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
Born on January 16, 1949, Steve was the third child of Claire Olin and Rose Patterson Ehle of Evansville, Wisconsin. He leaves behind his son Jonathan Prentice Ehle of Madison, brother John (Rosemary) of Mequon, Wisconsin, sister Kathleen (Paul) Campbell of Minneapolis, former wife and good friend Jennifer Eager Ehle, and girlfriend Karbet Sawtelle as well as his Patterson aunts, Elvina, Nancy Jo, and Lois, and numerous Patterson and Ehle cousins. Rose Ehle died in 1975 and Claire Ehle died in 2010.
Steve spent nearly all of his growing up years in Evansville, where, as a little boy, he enjoyed sitting on Great Grandpa Patterson’s lap with his siblings being read countless books, thereby learning the structure of language and laying the groundwork for his many years as a journalist.
Steve loved his Evansville class, was friends from an early age with both girls and boys, and remained friends with classmates for the rest of his life. In high school he excelled in sports, lettering each year in baseball and also playing basketball and participating in track and field. He played baseball for the University of Wisconsin-Madison during his freshman year and later played semi-pro baseball for 11 years, pitching a no-hitter in the 1970s. Steve was the only player to be elected to the Home Talent All-Star Team five times.
After graduating from UW-Madison in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV Journalism, Steve held positions as editor/reporter/photographer for the National Farmer’s Organization’s Guidelight, at Varco-Pruden, at Leader Printing (his parents’ business), and as area correspondent for Madison’s Capital Times. Steve and Jennifer Eager married on December 27, 1975, and initially lived and worked in the San Antonio area and in Portland, Indiana, where Steve was City Editor of the Commercial Review.
In 1979 Steve and Jennifer moved to Cooksville, where they lovingly renovated and expanded the John Cook residence. Between 1979 and 1986, while Steve was Editor of the Stoughton Courier-Hub, it received 26 awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. From 1986 to 2009 Steve was Editor of the trade publication Wood Digest. While interviewing and photographing business owners and leaders for Wood Digest, Steve formed lasting friendships all over the U.S. and enjoyed traveling for business to eight European countries, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Steve’s last position before free-lancing was as Wisconsin Coordinator for WoodLINKS Wisconsin (2003-2010) and actively supported the successor organization, Woodworking Career Alliance, as well. Steve was passionate about ensuring that the woodworking industry would be supplied with qualified workers going forward, and was involved with programs to promote vocational and technical education in secondary and post-secondary schools.
Steve had numerous interests. For all of his adult life he did photography both professionally and personally. As a proud father he created sensitive portraits of Jonathon that showed his love for and fascination with his little son. American history was a life-long interest and the histories of Evansville and Cooksville a special focus. He loved movies of all kinds and knew movie history, actors, and dialogue by heart. Coin collecting was a boyhood interest that persisted his entire life. In his last days Steve especially enjoyed reminiscing about travel experiences. Steve’s volunteer work was very important to him and included the Historic Cooksville Trust, the Stoughton Area Resource Team, Cooksville Lutheran Church, and ZorShrine in Madison. Steve was accepted into the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry and attained the 32nd Degree. He was a member of Waucoma Masonic Lodge 90, which met in Cooksville. Steve was funny, kind, smart, generous, and loving. He loved dogs and birds, enjoyed cooking, and even more, loved to make people laugh. Until very near the end he was planning his next dinner party, a trip to Nova Scotia with Karbet, and the next movie to see with Jonathan. A donation in Steve's memory could be made to Cooksville Lutheran Church, Stoughton Area Resource Team, or Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg.
A memorial to celebrate Steve’s life will be held Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. at the Cooksville Lutheran Church, village of Cooksville. northern Rock County.