Lyman Ehrlich Family Sojourn
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Christmas, 2001, In London.  Left to right: 

Bob & Julie Baisch, Greg and Kelsey Baisch, Steve and Valerie (Ehrlich) Houk, Marlene and Lyman and son Donn.



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Lyman Ehrlich, April 2004



          The journey begins in Follett, TX in 1931 when Lyman was born to Dad Ezra and Mom Linda.  Ezra and his brother Asaph operated the general store in the farming community.  Loads of aunts, uncles and cousins (mainly Ehrlichs and Laubhans) filled the early years with love, support and care for Lyman and his older sister, Florine.


          Great Depression and Dustbowl years brought hard times to the farmers in the Texas panhandle.  The store had to close.  Ezra and Linda sold most of their earthly goods at auction (all except wheat and chickens which nobody would buy because they already had plenty of those commodities but lacked cash.)  Ezra hitchhiked to Fresno, CA leaving Linda and the kids behind (surviving on whole wheat bread and chicken in every conceivable form) till he could find work and save enough money for train tickets west.  The letter finally came, “I’m working for United Grocers.  They’re paying me $90 per month and I only have to work 46 hours per week!”


          So in November, 1938 the family began life in Fresno, CA.  Ultimately, Ezra died of cancer at a young 54 years of age.  Linda lived to be 83 and passed on in 1986.


          Both Ezra and Linda passed down significant genes.  Florine became an outstanding musician (contralto soloist and pianist) and has appeared with the Sta. Monica Symphony and has soloed at numerous Bach Festivals from So. CA. to Monterey, CA. to Portland, OR.  She married Chuck Hemmings who would have an extensive career in electronics engineering as a Training Instructor.

They live in Southern Calif.  Daughters Dana, Veronica and Vicki and their families all live nearby. 


          Lyman also was blessed with musical genes but found athletics and girls to hold much more intrigue during school years.  He played varsity football (with honors) at UCLA and Fresno State University.  At FSU, he met and fell in love with Marlene Tolladay whose family was hard-working timber men and ranchers from Madera, CA.  Both graduated in “55, she magna cum laude and he just barely!  One week later they married, beginning an odyssey spanning nearly 50 years and the six major continents.


          Marlene was credentialed as a Home Econ. teacher at the secondary level.  However, child-rearing fell into place before her teaching career did.  So she bore and raised Valerie, Julie and Don for 20 years before reinstating her credential and teaching Special Ed. for several years. She used her teaching skills well with her own kids as well as becoming well-known as a Christian Educator.  She would go on to become Children’s Director for two sizable congregations.


(Now I’ll revert to the 1st person narrative.)


          Fascinated by things automotive, I began a 15 year career with Fruehauf Corporation, then the world’s largest supplier of truck-trailers and truck bodies.  My career path started in Los Angeles and led to Modesto CA, Oakland CA, Spokane WN and finally to Australia where we spent 5 marvelous years.  There I was Managing Director of Fruehauf Trailers Australasia Pty. Ltd.  Our manufacturing plant was in Melbourne and we had Sales and Service Branches in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  Additionally, we had Dealers in Perth and Darwin plus Licensees in New Zealand and Singapore.  So there were many opportunities for travel.  Our family loved the country and the people and we had the opportunity to settle there permanently.  However, with aging parents to consider and with kids and their education in mind, we returned to the USA.  After 6 years in San Diego we returned to Fresno and ultimately opened Trans-Cal Equipment Co. a franchised Dealer for Central California for Great Dane semi-trailers and Mack trucks.


          Since selling the dealership and “retiring” in 1990, both Marlene and I remain active.  We work Wednesdays and Thursdays, she for a cardiologist and I for a young man who used to work for me and who now operates his own dealership for Great Dane, Transcraft and Reitnouer semi-trailers.  We can’t believe it took 40 years to figure out

this is the best schedule – 2-day work weeks followed by 5-day weekends – EVERY WEEK!

          We keep very busy with our jobs, family, travel and recreation. Marlene heads up a caring ministry for seniors at the Evangelical Free Church where I’m in the second term as Chairman of the Board.


          We enjoy seasonal recreation, fishing and golfing spring thru fall and skiing in winter.  We just returned from our annual week at Lake Tahoe, a winter wonderland boasting lots of different ski resort options.  We especially like Northstar but also ski Mt. Rose, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.


          Eldest daughter Valerie and her Hub Steve live approx. 35 miles south of us in Visalia where both teach at College of the Sequoias, he Eng’g. and Math, she English.  Daughter Julie and hub Bob Baisch teach science in Bullard and Sunnyside High Schools respectively here in Fresno.  They also blessed us with our two grandkids, Greg (17) and Kelsey (10).  Alongside all of yours, our grandkids are the greatest!!  Son Donn is a self-employed landscape and interior designer in London, England where he’s lived since 1997.  He loves Europe generally and London specifically.


          Our parents and grandparents must have passed along strong “émigré” genes. We’ve been blessed to enjoy global travel.  Returning from Australia in ’70, we took 6 weeks as a family to take the “long way home”.  Highlights were (1) Israel and walking in the land of our Savior’s birth and ministry, (2) Germany, the land of my forefathers, (3) connecting with Marlene’s extended family in England.  We’ve also “done time” in Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Brazil.  All in all, we’ve been blessed far beyond what any two hay-shakers from Follett and Madera had any right to expect!


          In ’93 we pulled our travel trailer to Canada to connect with my “roots”. On Dad’s side, both Aunt Hilda and Uncle Jack Law were still living in Yorkton and we met their sons John, Terry and Alvin and their families for the first time.


          On Mother’s side, we hooked up with Aunt Hertha (Rowden), cousin Eleanor Lobossiere, and great-uncle (maybe cousin) Archie Schauer, 93, who fixed tea for us and who raised magnificent roses.  Also went out to the old Ehrlich homestead in Canora where cousin Irene Ehrlich lived and farmed with her son Clifford.  Saw the remains of Uncle Con’s first home, and played golf with Uncle Jack, Gwen Ehrlich (Irene’s daughter) and Marlene.  What a rich and fortuitous time that was. Since then both Uncle Jack and Aunt Hilda have passed on as have Aunt Hertha, Eleanor, Archie and Irene.  


          A couple photos are attached.  Our entire family journeyed to London to spend Christmas with Donn in 2001 celebrating his 40th birthday.  We house sat his neighbors home and the photo is shown as we sat down for Christmas dinner.  L. to R. are Bob and Julie Baisch, their offspring Greg and Kelsey, Steve Houk and Valerie (Ehrlich, she retains the family name though married), Marlene and me and son Donn.

Then in January this year, it was a thrill to have cousins Terry and Janet Law from Edmonton bunk a night with us during their “snowbird” junket to California.  In the photo L. to R. are me, Marlene, Janet and Terry.


          Thanks for contributing to a great heritage and for the periodic news about yourselves and families.  We love hearing about Ehrlich/Laubhan happenings.  Also, we have plenty of room for overnighters – so y’all come when you can.










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