Rev. Jacob Ehman, age 95, died on Friday, March 8, 2019, surrounded by his loving family, pastor and caregiver.
He was born Sept. 14, 1923 in Bismarck, N.D. to Fred and Emilia (Kranzler) Ehman. He spent his childhood on a farm five miles south of Lehr, N.D. He began his education at the age of 5 in a small country school. He graduated from high school in Lehr in 1941 and began employment at the lumber yard. At the age of 18, he signed up for the draft to serve in WWII but because of the shortage of farm workers, he was deferred to work on his father’s farm. In 1944 he was called by the Selective Service to pass his physical. But he was deferred again because the crop needed to be harvested. He was on the bus for boot camp when WWII ended, and he was sent home. In June of 1945 he met Helen Fischer on a Ferris wheel and they began a charmed love story. Three months after they married Jacob felt the call to ministry and enrolled in North American Baptist Seminary in Rochester, NY. In 1951, he graduated from the seminary, which had moved to Sioux Falls, S.D. He was ordained in his home church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church. His first call was to Bessie, Okla. to serve the First Baptist Church which he did until 1956. He then faithfully served the following churches: 1956-1962 the First Baptist Church of Sidney, Mont.; 1961-1968 the First Baptist Church of Goodrich, N.D., 1968-1974 the First Baptist Church of Steamboat Rock, Iowa. He came to Alpena, Mich. in 1974 to serve the Ripley Boulevard Baptist Church until 1986 when he became Area Minister for the Midwest, serving all the North American Baptist congregations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. This meant a move to Milwaukee, Wis.. After serving six years in that position, Jacob and Helen moved back to Alpena, Mich. in 1992. He thought he would retire but was asked again by his denomination to serve as the Area Minister for the Great Lakes Association where he served until 1997 when he retired again.
Life in retirement didn’t slow down for Jacob. He continued his ministry as Pastor Emeritus at Word of Life Baptist Church, teaching weekly Bible Study and Sunday School. He maintained this work until 2017 at the age of 94 when his health began to deteriorate.
Jacob and Helen were blessed with four children. Jacob was preceded in death by his wife, Helen Ehman, with whom he enjoyed 66 years of marriage. Additionally, two sisters preceded him in death: Ruth Weisenburger and Ella Bender and three brothers-in-law.
He is survived by his children: Dr. David Ehman (Rev. Carla Aday), Dorothy Helwig (Rev. Art Helwig), Deborah Herrmann (Rudolf Herrmann), and Donna Pollard (Tim Pollard). He leaves behind eight grandchildren, Karmen Major (Will), Kyle Ehman (Carlye), Connor Ehman, Jered Helwig (Diana), Leighton Helwig (Jennifer), Eva Cicilian (Michael), Britton Smith (Kolby) and Lauren Bowen (Travis) and 15 great-grandchildren. He has two surviving sisters Esther Roth and Delores Ulmer.
He has entered the Resurrection with this thought. “Ye though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will be met, as was Stephen in the Bible, by our Lord Jesus Christ to welcome us home into the presence of our Lord.” He was dearly loved by his family and those he served. He wanted to be a faithful servant of Jesus Christ and he was.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Turning Brook and Hospice of Michigan who lovingly cared for him as he passed from this life with dignity and peace.
Visitation will take place at the Bannan Funeral Home on Friday, March 15 from 4-8 p.m. and continue at Word of Life Baptist Church Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. until time of the funeral service at 11 a.m. with Rev. Scott Joy officiating.
Interment: Evergreen Cemetery
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to the Piano Fund at Word of Life Baptist Church.