Joseph Thomas Ehlers was born April 10, 1970 in Spirit Lake, Iowa to Phyllis Madelyn Rizzo and Ronald Joe Ehlers. As his brother in law said, "410, he's a shotgun." Joe was off like a shot gun running all over Spirit Lake on great adventures daily some of which involved water, massive bike ramps, climbing trees, bicycles and frequent trips to the emergency room. Joe also spent time visiting his grandparents, Milo and Dorothy Ehlers who owned a lake resort in the area.
Prior to starting kindergarten, Joe's family moved to TN and Joe was off on new adventures which included horses, snakes and good natured mischief of all kinds and more stitches. Joe railed at the thought of going to school full time in kindergarten and the first few weeks were quite an adjustment. His day long adventures were curbed by all day kindergarten.
Joe moved back to the Midwest in elementary school but made his way back to the Iowa great lakes frequently and kept fond memories of his time in TN in his heart always. Joe settled in Wilbur, NE and had 3 children there before moving to Lincoln in the later years of his life. Joe's children Jesse, Henry and Emily were a source of great pride to him.
Joe was a hard worker all of his life and spent 30 years with Midwest Masonry as a brick layer. In all kinds of weather, Joe was working to build some of the finest brick buildings in the area. Joe also met friends for a lifetime on the job, 2 of whom were with him at the hospital when he passed away.
Joe met the love of his life, Tracy Roth at the Garage Bar and Grill in Lincoln in 2016. Tracy lived in TN but came to Lincoln to see her dad, Lonnie. Joe and Tracy hit it off right away because of their love of Tennessee. It did not take long for both of them to realize they had found the love they had been looking for. On August 28, 2018 Joe and Tracy began their life together in Lincoln. Joe couldn't believe that Tracy went to the time and effort to put his work shirts on hangers and told everyone about this. Joe loved to cook and spent a lot of time cooking special dishes for Tracy whom he proposed to on her 50th birthday.
Their wedding was delayed by the unfortunate death of Tracy's son in September of 2020 and her father in April of the following year. Joe was diagnosed with esophageal cancer September 27, 2022 and made getting married a priority. Joe and Tracy were married December 09, 2022.
Joe and Tracy had much in common, their birthdays have been on the same day of the week every year since the day they were born and throughout much of the time before they met they were going through similar life experiences. Together, they were working to raise Tracy's grandchildren, Jenna, Rose and Karter. Joe put up a valiant fight to beat cancer for 15 months with the loving care of his wife and friends who were pillars of strength for him.
Joe was a proud hard working man all of his life and never met a stranger.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Tracy; children Jesse, Henry and Emily; grandchildren, Jenna, Rose and Karter; mother, Phyllis Rizzo; mother and father in law, Jan “Nan” and Kent Schmieding; siblings, Jeff (Chris), Karen (Bruce) and Angie (Scott), brother and sister in law Terry and Janet Roth; aunts and nieces and nephews; friends from all walks of life.
Celebration of life will be January 13th 1-3pm at the Garage.