To My Descendants 
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L.J. Ehrlich, Publisher

Picture taken at Laverne Camp Meeting, 2004 by Jack Hopson 

l.j. at piano with grandma laubhan.png

L.J. playing piano at home in Follett about 1950, Grandmother listening and singing Gott ist die liebe Easter Song.

To hear and sing the song Gott ist die Liebe click here.


An Open Letter To my

Children, Grandchildren, and Great Grandchildren



            First, I want to confess that my forte` is not writing.  In fact, writing is at the bottom of my list.  But I felt it important to pass on to you as much information as possible about myself and my roots.   For those of you who look for errors, I have thrown in a few so you won’t be disappointed.   For those of you who want to expand your knowledge about your roots, I say bless you.




            My friends and relatives call me L.J. which is short for Laubhan J. .    Laubhan was my mother’s maiden name and the initial J. is listed on the birth certificate as “J. only “ actually it was given in memory of my older sister Joyce who died a few years before my birth.   Joyce died at  the  age of 3 from scarlet fever.   Of course I never met  Joyce but  if I had,  I would imagine she would be a lot like my two sisters Joanna and Bernice.  They are both jewels.

            I am proud to be an Ehrlich, direct descendant of Peter Ehrlich, (1819-1888)  and George Laubhan (1850-1892.    Peter and George are Germans via Russia.  My ancestry is intriguing and  fascinating to say the least. 

            The Ehrlich’s and Laubhan’s lineage  came from the area around Scherbakovka, Russia which is in the delta of the Volga River in Russia.  They were considered  “wealthy and respected citizens” .

            To keep the wealth in the family, marriages were often planned well in advance and it was not uncommon for cousins to marry.   Such was the case when my father Asaph married his cousin Tillie Laubhan.  His sister, Theresa Ehrlich,   married her cousin Theodore (T.R.) Laubhan, and  his other sister Marion, (Mary) Ehrlich, married her cousin Herman Laubhan.  These marriages were bountiful and blessed and  caused some fascinating and interesting  relationships for their children and grandchildren.  I have record of over 220 first cousins, many of which are once removed and some twice removed.


My Beginning


            I was born Laubhan J. Ehrlich on June 14, 1935 in the Newman Memorial Hospital in  Shattuck, Ok.  It was a Saturday and the Seventh Day Adventist rule of no work on the Sabbath prevailed.  The head nurse, “Goldie” was an Adventist  and she did not record my birth until Sunday the 15th.  But I always maintain  I was born on the 14th of June-- Flag Day.   I was the 6th child to Asaph Ehrlich and Tillie Laubhan.  Gene (deceased) was first.  Then came Jo, Bernie, Maurice, and Joyce (deceased)  I was the 3third male child to be born and Tracy came a few years later.


W. War II


            When War broke out on December 7, 1941, I became one scared little boy.  I was only 6 years old and I was certain the bombs were going to get to us.  But then what little boy didn’t think that?

             World War II was a time of unity in our community.    We all worked to help.  I gathered used nails, wire and anything that had iron in it for the scrap drive.   “Gather some scrap and kill a Jap " was seen everywhere.   Every Friday at school we all brought pennies, nickels and dimes for Victory Stamps.  (Stamps were .10 each)   We licked them and put them in a little book.  The book when full was traded in for a war bond.

            One day all the church bells rang and sirens blew, all business stopped and the whole town went to church to pray for our service men and women.  The Normandy Invasion in Europe was under way!   I saw men and women on their knees praying that day in the Methodist church that I had never seen pray before!   They were in the church all day!

            With the American  atomic bomb attack at Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, the war soon came to an end.  I remember sirens blowing and people dancing in the street.  I breathed a sigh of relief that we had won the war and I wasn’t going to die in the night by some bomb dropped on my house in Follett, Texas.  I was going to live!


My Early Memories


            Growing up in Follett was easy and non-threatening.  Many Germans lived there, mostly on farms.   Usually they would shop on Saturday night  after sundown remembering to keep the Sabbath as Seventh Day Adventists.  I can still remember hearing German spoken, laughter, and then sometimes in the middle of the German sentence a sudden burst of broken English.   I never did learn the German language although I wish I had.  While the United States was at war with Germany it was not too popular in those days to be a German! Consequently I never cared to learn the language.

            My oldest brother Gene was the only one to speak German until the first grade when he was forced to make the switch to English.  Ironically, Gene later enrolled into a German language class in college and almost flunked it.   I miss hearing the German/English sentences,  the laughter, and the family gatherings at Thanksgiving and  Christmas.  Those were sweet times.

            Holidays, especially Thanksgiving were always a big celebration and food was served in abundance.  Kase Noodles, Beirox, Butter Glace, Home made noodles, Turkey and Kraut,  Goose and Kraut , Vausht,  Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Kuuka, Watermelon Cookies, Salads and much, much more were always part of the menu.  Our gatherings were really quite large.   On several occasions we rented the American Legion Hall, and High School Gymnasium to put on our functions.   We always had registration at the door, name tags and home made entertainment.  

            At one particular gathering that I recall we registered over 450 at the door.   It was at one of these gatherings that my brother Gene started to record some of our history.   My first cousin Verda Laubhan contributed with a giant ancestry tree on a big piece of plywood and later Hub Baker organized a group that spent several years putting together our first ancestry book.  My mother Tillie was one of the workers in that group.


My  Earliest Roots


            My ancestors came to America for a better opportunity and a better life.   My dad, Asaph, and family came to America to circumvent a Russian Law requiring the oldest male child to enter the Russian Army if a second male child was born into the family.  Daddy was born as the second male child and the decision was made to come to America.   

            Some of my relatives also made the decision to come to America but were unfortunately blocked from doing so by the Russian Revolution.  Little is known of their fate as they were forced to stay behind during that terrible time.

            My ancestors were mostly of Lutheran faith in Russia.   After they came to Oklahoma, some converted to Baptist.  In fact, the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Shattuck, Ok. was founded by  my grandfather George  Ehrlich in 1907.  Later many changed to become Seventh Day Adventists and they practice that faith to this day. 

            I was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist church in Follett, Texas.  My Sabbath School teacher was my Aunt Lydia Matlack.  She and her sister, Martha are twins and were the last Ehrlich’s to come out of Russia before the Revolution.  Aunt Lydia and Aunt Martha (both deceased) were saints, always loving and giving and sharing.   I still remember the Sabbath school lessons, the songs, and the strong Christian influence I was raised in.  My Grandmother always prophesied that I would be a preacher some day.   I never knew why she said that but I guess she knew.

            When I was in high school, we had a man in town   whose name was Noble Brown.  Noble could fix anything  and seemed to be on the leading edge of everything.   Noble bought a radio with a picture tube.  He called it a T.V.   That night me and my friend J.W. (Dub McClarty)  helped Noble take the T.V. to the top of the Follett Grain Elevator, about 150 feet high and we set up the T.V.   Noble was smart but he was not informed enough with this first purchase to order a T.V. antennae.  So he constructed one from several cane fishing poles and attached bare copper wire with black electric tape.. 

            That night Jersey Joe Walcott was fighting Ezzard Charles for one of his championship fights and it would be broadcast on T.V.   We were ready.  While 150’ in the air, we set up 2 fishing poles and  attached some wire.  We pointed them toward O.K. City.  We adjusted and waited and turned the knobs and  stared and readjusted and listened and stared some more.  There was one time, for a brief moment I thought I saw something and might have heard a faint sound, but then it was all gone!  That night I lost any faith in T.V. entertainment!


Post High School


           When I was 17 years of age I graduated from Follett High.   Not going to college was not an option for me nor for any of us in the Ehrlich household.  All my brothers and sisters went to college and all graduated from college.  Upon Tracy’s graduation we gave Mother an honorary degree plaque  from college.   We could not have done it without her love and support.  My hat is off to Mom and Dad who inspired us all to finish college.  How many families can make that claim? 

            I graduated  in May and turned 18 in June 1953.  That was the last summer I was ever to be with my father.   In the middle of  that summer, Mother, Daddy and myself were working on the farm in South Dakota.  Dad became very ill and he was getting sicker every day.  He was so strong-willed.  He didn’t want to be sick and he always managed to get up one more time.  He had Leukemia, a type of cancer.  One day he could not get out of his bed.  I remember Mama crying as she kept putting on more blankets to keep him warm.  Finally, we agreed he should be in the hospital.  I carried Dad to the car and placed him in the back seat.  We wrapped him in warm blankets and rushed him to a hospital in Pierre, South Dakota.  We arrived there about 10:00 in the morning, hoping that with medical attention he would be getting better.  By 5:00 pm that afternoon Dad passed away.  It was so traumatic for me.

            I’ll never forget how I felt.  I had mixed emotions.  I was sad he was gone - he was my father.  I was going to miss him.  But I was relieved that his pain and suffering was now over.  I cried as I stood beside him in his death bed.  His skin was cold and discolor was blue.  Death had knocked on our door, came in, and touched my family. He was buried in the Follett cemetery, close to my brother Gene and my sister Joyce who had had died before him.


My Conversion


            In August of 1953 a tent revival came to Follett.  The Evangelist was Marcus Adair from the Midway Country Church, located about 15 miles north of Follett.  I never heard of church under a tent before so I attended.  It wasn’t long until I knew I needed to make a life change and on Aug. 9, 1953 I became a Christian.  Little did I realize that my conversion would change the destiny of my life.

            Shortly thereafter I began to date Kay Roach, a cute Methodist girl who wouldn’t have anything to do with me when I was a sinner but changed her mind after I became a Christian.   We were married in 1954 and in 1955 we had our first child.  A girl.  We named her Kanell Zoe Ehrlich.  (Don’t ask me where we got the name Zoe)


Higher Learning


            Kay and I both went to West Texas State Teacher’s College.  We managed pretty well as I swept floors at the college and carried out groceries at a super market. Momma and brother Gene both helped us with tuition and book money or we wouldn’t have made it.



The Ministry


            I left college in my junior year to attend the Apostolic Faith Bible College in Baxter Springs, Kansas.  Kay, Kanell, and I drove all day and all night in a snow storm to go to Baxter Springs.  We attended classes every day Monday through Friday and Graduated our first term of Bible College.  Upon graduation I was ordained a minister of the Gospel and Kay was ordained a Christian Worker. The classes we took prepared us for the ministry.

            The next summer I was called to my first church in Hinton, Alabama.  Kay and I drove  day and night for 48 hours pulling a little trailer with our Nash Rambler station wagon.  The trailer was as big as the little Rambler.    I loved that little car, but I soon wore it out.   During this ministry, our second child was born.   Natalie Jo stole away our hearts  with her big smile and innocent grin.

            I soon knew that I needed more Christian Education and after one year at Hinton, Alabama, I returned to Baxter Springs to get more ministerial  training.

            Upon graduation from Baxter, I returned to the deep south (Mississippi) where I felt God was leading me to start a church.  I didn’t have a congregation, no money, no plans, only the belief that God was leading and that was  good enough for me.

            At this time, our third daughter was born. We named her T. Lynn Yvette.  The initial T.  was in honor of Grandmother Tillie and I don’t have a clue why we named her Lynn Yvette.   I guess we thought it was appropriate.

            Through a series of small miracles, I did manage to build a church, and parsonage on one acre of ground in the tall Pines of Mississippi.  We called it Pine Crest. 

            The second year I built  Pine Crest Youth Camp.  With God’s help, and a few more miracles we built a large outdoor tabernacle (100’ X 175’), 2 dormitories, 7 cabins for workers, a dining hall and kitchen, and a concessions stand.  I never solicited money  nor passed the offering plate for funds, nor did I ever charge any fees to campers to come.   The first year of camp we had over 75 children from all over the area for 6 days.  The community began to take notice.

            We grew our own vegetables and  some neighbors sent in pork, beef and corn meal.  This  was all we needed.  It was all done by faith and God always paid all the bills.  The  church, camp ground and facilities as of this writing (1996) are still being used and are in good shape.

            In 1962 I accepted a pastoral position  in Granby, Missouri.  The name of the church was the Granby Gospel Tabernacle.  It had about 200 members.  

            On  November 22,  1963  when President John F Kennedy was shot and killed, I was doing carpentry work about 20 miles from Granby.  I, along with the whole nation was shocked.  There was an agony that gripped this nation that I shall never forget.  As we watched the funeral parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, saw the tears of mourning Americans, and the 2 wheel caisson carrying the casket, we were spellbound by the sadness of it all.  I shall never

forget it.

            In 1964 I returned to West Texas State College (now called West Texas A & M  University) to finish a degree in Business.   I  received my BBA in May 1966, 13 years after graduating from high school.


History Repeats Itself? 


            Following graduation, I moved to Gage, Ok. and taught school while pioneering a new church in Shattuck. .  It was called Faith Country Church.   (I didn’t realize it at the time, but 58 years  before me, my grandfather George Ehrlich had pioneered the Ebenezer Baptist church in Shattuck.  That is probably some kind of a record for the city of Shattuck.)  I bought and moved an existing  church building from Laverne to Shattuck and built a parsonage on the same property.


            While living in Shattuck I operated and owned an appliance store, bought and operated a car wash business, and delivered Mistletoe Express on the side.  Raising and racing homing pigeons became an enjoyable hobby.  Four years later,  I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas and pastored Peoples Church. 

            During this season in our lives, my wife Kay and I mutually agreed to separate and eventually divorce.  We also decided that it was best for our 3 girls to remain in Fayetteville and finish their schooling in an environment that was familiar to them.  I bought a home in Fayetteville.

            The girls all finished high school.  Since then Kanell and Natalie went on to get college degrees.  Kanell received her Masters degree and a Specialist degree in education and Natalie Jo went on to earn her doctorate in Health Science at the University of Arkansas.  T. Lynn has since become a successful entrepreneur, owning and operating two clothing stores with her husband Tom.

            One year after the divorce, I met and married Ida Marsala, a lovely lady who was the church pianist.  We met at a revival meeting.  It was a first marriage for Ida and we started our lives together in a new home we built east of Fayetteville.  Ida was a public school music teacher.  She loved the Lord, she loved being married and being a mother to the girls. 


Postmark, 1996


            Much has happened in the last few years.  I went through a time in my life where I made some poor choices.  After 17 years of good marriage, I divorced Ida and married Wanda Vann from Inola, OK. We divorced  2 years after the marriage.    Looking at these divorces makes me sad.  I realize I did not  try hard  enough to keep it all together.


Full Circle, 2002


But God is good and merciful.   He brought me to my senses, Ida and I remarried on  Oct 14, 2000.   We pastored the Follett Chapel for two years and then retired and moved to Sapulpa, OK. 


A note to my children,

grandchildren and whoever reads this narrative:


            Divorce is a cruel taskmaster.  It does not solve problems.  It creates many more than what you had to start with.  In the end it steals some of your  joy and  some of your goals in life.    My Advice:  Be strong, work out your problems, and be committed to your mates.  You will be blessed.


            God has truly blessed me with a great parents, wonderful brothers and sisters and a fine family.  I am grateful to Him for my girls, Kanell, Natalie, and T. Lynn and their support.  I love my grandchildren, Jonathan, Emily, Andrew, Tassidy and Cortney and pray for them always.


God Bless all of you.


Laubhan J. Ehrlich











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