Obituary: Judith A. Ehrler, 75

Judith A. Ehrler, née Hurst, 75, died peacefully on March 16, 2017, in Springfield, Mo., after a six-month battle with cancer. She grew up in Lebanon, Mo., a place she always held in her heart. She later graduated cum laude from Drury College in Springfield and married Whit Ehrler, her former husband. They settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they raised two children, Whitney and Preston. In California, the family enjoyed trips to San Francisco, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, the redwood forests and Monterey’s old Cannery Row.

The Bay Area provided a creative backdrop for many of her projects and passions, including painting, sewing, crocheting, collecting a vast number of books and making things grow. At her home, she grew sunflowers higher than her fence, a vegetable garden and a myriad of fuchsias and ferns. She preferred the California beaches on quiet, foggy days.

A move took the family across the country to Wilton, Conn., where she continued to cultivate her many interests. She explored New York’s endless museums and theaters; she later traveled to England, Spain and Italy, where she took photographs of forgotten corners and appreciated European cultures and customs.

Her life’s journey continued at her cottage in Maine, where she enjoyed walks along the nearby coastline. She eventually returned to Missouri, where she was able to reconnect with childhood friends. Yet, she always missed the colors and feel of New England, particularly at dusk with the snow glistening outside and candles burning in the windows of her beloved home in Wilton.

She taught her children to look beyond the obvious, to admire beauty in all its forms, and to love literature and music. Whether she was reading Dylan Thomas or John Steinbeck, or listening to Gregorian chant, she always searched for life’s essential values.

Judith is survived by her children, her grandchildren, Lauren and Meryl, by her two sisters, Dannielle Hurst and Michelle Berger, and by Aunt Ruth Lambeth. She was preceded in death by her parents, Homer Lee Hurst and Shirley Sue Hurst, and by her brother, John William Hurst.

A visitation will be held in Springfield at Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home on Thursday, March 23, from 6 to 8 p.m., and a funeral service at the Wilton Congregational Church in Wilton will take place on Friday, March 31, at 1 p.m. She will be buried at Hillside Cemetery in Wilton, in a private service.