Louis Leon Ehlinger, Sr.

LOUIS LEON EHLINGER SR. of Devine, TX, passed to his Heavenly home at the age of 95 on November 30, 2022, in Lytle, Texas. He was born in Devine, on July 29, 1927, to Willie and Theresa Ehlinger as the 7th of 12 children. The Ehlingers were a very close-knit family and were faithful members of the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Devine where Louis and his brothers served as altar boys. The church and their faith were central parts of their lives, which Louis continued with his own family.
Louis was a proud 1945 graduate of Devine High School where he was the quarterback and captain of the 1944 37-A Champion, Devine Warhorses! He turned 18 after graduation and enlisted in the U.S. Navy not knowing what he would be facing in his future, as WWII was still in full swing. But, on September 2, 1945, the war ended while he was still in boot camp. During those post-war months, Louis had the opportunity to play on a newly formed Naval Base baseball team, even though he had never played much baseball besides sandlot ball in Devine as a kid, using old, used tattered gloves and baseballs. The base teams were important for military morale, as well as entertainment to a nation that was coming out of a very difficult time. Louis played for 6-7 months in the Navy before being discharged and heading back home to Devine.
More baseball opportunities were ahead for Louis as he played semi-pro, minor-league baseball several years for the Vernon Dusters in Vernon, Texas, where he met his future wife, Betty Alley. They married in 1948 and had two sons before moving to Devine in 1961 when he started working at Medina Base in San Antonio, Tx. He had a dangerous job as part of the “Handling Crew” who moved bombs to and from huge concrete igloo bunkers. In November 1963, he and his crew escaped an explosion there that was covered nation-wide.
In 1966 Louis went to work in Devine for the Gayle Meat Company on Windy Knoll. After one year, Louis and first-cousin, Francis Schmidt, bought the company and renamed it the Devine Meat Company. Louis worked at the meat market and processed quality products for local and surrounding areas for 25 years! He said, “It was hard work, but you had to like it because of the good people around you!” He also served on the Devine ISD School Board, as did his father, and his son, plus served as Precinct 4 County Commissioner for 2 terms.
After living in Colonial Oaks for years, Louis and Betty built a home on family land that has now been in the family for 110 years. Lou & Betty loved helping others in need, be it family or friend and spending many fun times with their three granddaughters, who they adored. They had 67 years of a loving marriage with lots of fun and happiness until her passing in 2016.
Louis stayed busy on the farm with his cattle, going to church, visiting, and checking on his siblings when he became the “oldest of the last 6 kids”! He loved meeting up with his siblings and in-laws for birthday dinners and the monthly “Card Party” where he played “Pitch” with his brothers, brothers-in-law, and nephews, and on a good day might win up to a $1.45!
Louis was known for his hard work ethic, great sense of humor, friendship, and his love for his immediate and extended family. He was always ready with a smile and hearty handshake or hug for his family and many friends. Louis was a hard-working, honest, and fair businessman who took pride in what he did, the family he raised, and being a caring Christian.
But for all his accomplishments, Louis was first and foremost a humble family man who loved and respected his wife, and was very proud of his sons, granddaughters, and great-grandchildren. He was also a loving son, brother, and uncle. Louis said many times, “I have been so lucky!” “I have learned that if you treat people right, they treat you right!” That is the example he set for us and the legacy he leaves us. We will all miss him very much.
Louis was preceded in death by wife, Betty, in 2016, his parents; brothers: Bill, Herb, Alex, Ferd, and Arthur Ehlinger; sisters: Annie Marie Haass, Laura Mae McMillan, and Marian Tschirhart.
Louis is survived by: Sons: Louis L. Ehlinger Jr. and wife, Gail of Comfort, Tx, and Richard Ehlinger of Devine; Granddaughters: Keri (Ehlinger) and husband, Kurt Shell of Buda, Kelsey Ehlinger of Boerne, and Erin (Ehlinger) and husband, Brandon Dodd of Chattanooga, Tennessee; great-grandchildren: Hadley, Emery, and Beckett Shell, Alexis and Bryson Dodd; Sister: Alda Rose McAllister of Devine; Brothers: Marvin Ehlinger of Pearland, TX, and Melvin Ehlinger of McAllen; Brother-in-law Alex Tschirhart of Castroville, Sister-in-Law June Ehlinger of Devine; and many nieces and nephews who loved him dearly.
Services for Louis Ehlinger Sr., were held on Dec.6, 2022 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Devine, Texas under the direction of Hurley Funeral Home in Devine.
A visitation was held from 2pm-9pm on Monday, December 5, 2022, with a rosary to be recited at 7:00pm at Hurley Funeral Home Chapel in Devine. A Mass service took place on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, at 10:00 am at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Devine with interment to follow in St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery.
Anyone wishing to leave condolences, share memories, or sign the guest book may do so at www.HurleyFuneralHome.com
Arrangements are under the direction of Hurley Funeral Home – Devine. 303 W. College Ave, Devine, Texas 78016.