Doc Ehlers was a Lacey Icon

October 22nd, 2012 by Ken

Doc Ehlers has died.   That’s what everyone called him – – Doc Ehlers.  Sometimes it was just Doc.  He was never called mister or William, his given name, or even Bill.   It was always Doc Ehlers.

Doc Ehlers was a Lacey Icon.  If it happened in Lacey, Doc was involved.  From the founding of the city, to it’s business success, to it’s medical needs,  Doc Ehlers was there.

He moved to Lacey in 1953 to open a medical practice in the sleepy little community of Lacey.  He was the first doctor in the area and everyone was his patient.

A General Practitioner Doc handled all cases,  and, while watching the bottom line as all good business owners do, Doc often let some of his patients pay – – a little late.  That was necessary to stay in business in those early days of Lacey.

It wasn’t  a bustling business metropolis.  There was very little business at first, just a few mom and pop stores, a bowling alley, a tavern and a drive-in movie theater which Doc and his wife Gail, sometimes attended.

Being a good businessman, Doc kept his eyes open and when a young man named Bob Blume suggested the construction of an enclosed shopping center in Lacey, Doc signed on and became partners in Capital Development Company which eventually owned more than 30 such facilities around the country.

Blume’s office wasn’t too far distant from Doc’s office and the two of them often met and talked about the future.  They saw Lacey as a good place to do business and invested their money in that vision.

Doc was a charter member of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce when it was formed in 1962 and stayed active in the chamber until just a year ago.

He also enjoyed politics and was active in the Lacey Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee which he attended with regularity until his health made such attendance difficult.

Last year the Chamber recognized Doc for his involvement and support of the Lacey Chamber and the greater Lacey community.

Doc is the last of the Lacey pioneers- –  the ones that made Lacey a city.   Many of his fellow founders have already gone, but, at the age of 91, Doc was the last.

A service for Doc Ehlers will be held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on Friday, October 26, 2012 beginning at 1 p.m.   Burial will follow at the Woodlawn Cemetery.

He will be remembered by all the business owners in Lacey because it was Doc, and those like him, who made Lacey the best place to do business in Thurston County.

Posted in Business, History, Informational, The Real News

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