With heartfelt sadness we announce the passing of Gene M. Ehlers on July 18, 2012. Mr. Ehlers, a visionary entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, was born on March 6, 1929 in Reinbeck, Iowa. As a young man, he enlisted in the United States Army, beginning his successful business career shortly after returning from the service. Mr. Ehlers worked at various local and national companies in both sales and management positions before purchasing General Leaseways, Inc. in 1971. Mr. Ehlers grew General Leaseways from a small local car and truck leasing company to the second largest family owned truck rental and leasing firm in the nation. Renamed General Car and Truck Leasing System, Inc., the operation owned over 5000 trucks in 13 states. He also began General Logistics, a specialized trucking company in 1987, a business which continues today.
The level of dedication and expertise Mr. Ehlers brought to his work was matched only by his generous spirit. After moving to Florida in 1988, he and his wife, Carolyn, founded Grandview Preparatory School of Boca Raton in 1997. The Ehlers' founding vision for the school was to provide an innovative, character-based educational program personalized for the individual student. The values Mr. Ehlers held dear are evident in the close knit school community located on Spanish River Boulevard. Consistent with his beliefs in the value of a strong education and purposeful life, Mr. Ehlers also served on the Board of Trustees for Lynn University and was a long-time member of the Congregational Church of Boca Raton.
Mr. Ehlers is survived by his wife of 29 years, Carolyn, son Michael Ehlers of Bettendorf, Iowa, son David Ehlers, daughter Jamie Ehlers, and step daughter, Jackie Westerfield, his grandchildren Michael Ehlers II, Azaria Ehlers, Garrick Ehlers, Adriana Ehlers, JT Westerfield, Jake Westerfield, Kaiden and Davis Lobbe. Mr. Ehlers died peacefully at home surrounded by family in the care of Hospice by the Sea.
Visitation was held on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 from 4 -7 p.m. at Glick Family Funeral Home, 3600 N Federal Highway, Boca Raton, Fla. The memorial service was held on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the Congregational Church of Boca Raton, 251 SW 4th Avenue, Boca Raton, Fla. Brunch followed the Wednesday service at Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club. In honor of Mr. Ehlers, memorials may be made to the Grandview Foundation, The Congregational Church of Boca Raton, or Hospice By The Sea.