Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Buddy Ehlert
Arthur Charles “Buddy” Ehlert was born August 12 of 1930 in Chattanooga, TN. His parents moved to Acworth, GA three years later. His father was a textile engineer and his mother the classic “stay-at-home-mom”. His youth was normal for boys in the ‘30s. His college years took him to Emory at Oxford and West Georgia. After college he was drafted and sent to Germany as part of the US Army Signal Corps. At the end of his service, he returned to the US, married and moved to Marietta to join the post-war aircraft industry at Lockheed.
By the mid ‘50s Buddy was drawn to Buford to join the growing propane and appliance family business that was providing energy alternatives to the growing rural population in Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall counties. He had a knack for and an appreciation of keeping things functioning to keep people warm and stoves cooking. Initially the business office of the company was located along Main Street in Buford.
After moving to Buford he began a project that would be among his passions for the next several years. He embarked on the restoration of his 1930 Model A Ford. That car became something he was proud to show in parades and events for the Model A Restorer’s Club for many years. He had recently discussed putting it into use again.
In 1958 a great need in Buford was demonstrated when many of the businesses along Main Street burned down in large fire which also made clear the dangers of not having a Fire Department to keep people and property safe. Within months, Buddy set about meeting this need assembling a group of dedicated volunteers beginning with his compatriots in the Jaycees while procuring funds, equipment and training to build fire protection for the Citizens of Buford from the ground up. This was quite an accomplishment for everyone involved as they had come together and met a need that stayed in place until the Gwinnett County Fire Department assumed responsibility in the 1980s.
By the mid ‘60s, the recreation provided by the recently filled Lake Lanier also demonstrated a need for rescue and recovery services for people not yet fully attuned to water safety. By now the Buford Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) had two pumper trucks and had recently acquired an ambulance for additional emergency response. A home alert radio dispatch system had just been put in place. Despite monumental obstacles, Buddy again led the dedicated group of volunteers to train as SCUBA divers as well as the nascent concept of Emergency Medical Technicians. Soon, the BVFD was also able to respond to drowning and boating emergencies and they were the only group meeting the need on the south end of Lake Lanier. Once the challenge had been met of procuring capability to refill diving tanks, they were able to act with a fully independent capability. Buford had a multi-faceted public safety apparatus built upon the elbow grease of the volunteers, a perpetual shoestring budget and a focus on how to help.
When Federal efforts to help combat food insecurity began in the ‘60s, the BVFD was front and center in distributing surplus commodity food products directly to the homes of those least able to get out and shop for themselves.
Along the way, Buddy rekindled his love of hunting (and love of collecting with his dearest friends to carve out a village in the forest during hunting season). Many might assert that tall tales were told but in my experience, much wisdom was shared. Not every hunter is always successful but a love of nature and proper conservation is always there to learn and Buddy always absorbed the freedom of the forest. Friendships were forged that will be legend for years.
Buddy was a fan of motorsports as well even attending the inaugural CAN-AM race at Road Atlanta in 1968. He liked everything from dirt track to drag racing. Buddy maintained an interest in NASCAR for the rest of his life. He appreciated the efforts of making the absolute most of one’s machinery while still having a good time.
Oh did I mention the family? Buddy raised three strong and successful children instilling them with his clear sense of public service. In 1974 he married Louise Whitley and settled in to helping guide the first of 3 grandchildren, then two great grandchildren and just in the past year welcoming his third great grandchild. He took great pride in accomplishments of his strong blended family.
In his later years Buddy took great joy in his frequent world altering discussions with his Coffee Club. It was a place to prove there are always many different opinions available to solve any problem. If the world isn’t a more perfect place it isn’t due to their lack of trying!
Buddy maintained an active lifestyle to the end insisting on maintaining his yard and garden even in this summer’s heat. It was just normal to him and important for him to do.
Buddy Ehlert lived a life of service to his family and community. He shied away from taking credit for benefits his hard work yielded. In his 92 years, he touched so many and inspired many to go the extra mile. As a husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, he will be missed.
Funeral service will be held Thursday, August 25, 2022 at 2 PM at Hamilton Mill Memorial Chapel. Pastor Craig Dale and Mr. Dale Jones will officiate. Interment will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery, Buford. The family will receive friends Wednesday, August 24, 2022 from 5 – 8 PM at the funeral home.
Hamilton Mill Memorial Chapel 770-945-6924 Share memories of Buddy at hamiltonmillchapel.com