Former U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, a nuclear physicist, pilot, and AOPA member who served nine terms in Congress and co-founded the House General Aviation Caucus, died Aug. 15 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was 83.
Ehlers, a Republican, was known as a passionate educator and a strong advocate for the funding of science and environmental protection. He advised a previous holder of the House seat from Michigan, Gerald Ford, on science matters before Ford became president of the United States, according to this obituary.
As an advocate for general aviation, Ehlers sat on the House aviation subcommittee and spoke out on a range of issues, from security to user fees, AOPA noted in February 2010 after Ehlers announced his retirement from Congress.
Ehlers founded the GA Caucus in 2009 with fellow Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.). AOPA recognized the two men for their efforts to educate their colleagues about GA with the Joseph B. “Doc” Hartranft Award.