Cover photo for Burdette Allen Ehrhardt's Obituary
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Burdette Allen Ehrhardt

December 5, 1941 — May 5, 2011

Burdette Allen Ehrhardt

Burdette Allen Ehrhardt (69) died on May 5, 2011, following a difficult battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He was born on December 5, 1941, at his family farm, the son of Russell and Mamie (Avery) Ehrhardt. Burdette lived most of his life on his 160-acre Ohio Century Farm, and he passed away in the same room in which he was born.

Burdette attended school in Camden, Ohio, graduating from Shawnee High School in 1959. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the US Navy and was part of Naval Construction Battalion #7 or the "Seabees." He was stationed in Cuba at Guantanamo Naval Base during both the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). In 1964, he received discharge from the US Navy to return home to assume operations of his beloved family farm, following the deaths of his father, Russell Ehrhardt, and his grandfather, John Ehrhardt. Burdette joined the City of Middletown (OH) Fire Department on June 6, 1965. He worked as a full-time professional fire fighter, until his retirement on June 1, 1989. Burdette had an outstanding work ethic, and spent the greater part of his adult life concurrently pursuing his fire and farming careers.

Though Burdette had no formal higher education, he greatly valued education and the pursuit of knowledge. He served as a member of the Preble Shawnee School Board from approximately 1974-1982. While serving as a board member, Burdette was a tireless advocate for services for children and lobbied the Ohio Department of Education for a funding match for a new high school. The building was opened in 1983, and his daughter, Kristal, was a member of the first graduating class in 1984.

Over the last 20 years, Burdette dedicated much time to land conservation. In the early 1980's, Burdette became concerned about the deleterious effects of chemicals from no-till farming on the local watershed and the wildlife population on his farm. 1986, he planted his first stand of prairie grass. Little information about prairie restoration was available at that time and Burdette' effort was at best a partial success. But it was enough to pique his interest, and by the late 1980s, Burdette was committed to learning all he could about land conservation. He richly succeeded.

Burdette did a great deal of hands-on work, spraying, tilling, planting, mowing, and conducting prescribed burns at his farm and in his community. Burdette's conservation efforts earned him a number of awards, including the National Wild Turkey Federation's 2002 Wildlife Management Excellence on Private Lands Midwest Region and National Awards., the Preble County Soil and Water District Hall of Fame (2004), and the Wallace I. Edwards Conservationist of the Year Award (2010). Burdette became very active in the Butler County Pheasants Forever Chapter. In his role as Habitat Chairman, Burdette regularly consulted with land owners and encouraged them to engage in conservation practices. Burdette and the club raised over $200, 000 for habitat restoration and have planted more than 2, 000 acres of prairie grass in a number of counties in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Burdette's life in general, and his work in conservation in particular, are characterized by enduring commitment, persistent effort, and eventual success.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Ruth (Cottingim) Ehrhardt; three daughters, Kristal Ehrhardt (Alan Poling) of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Joan Walker (David) of Camden, Ohio, and Angela Ratliff (Mark) of Pennington, New Jersey; and five grandchildren, Jessica and Wade Poling, Emily and Elise Walker, and John Ratliff. Burdette has five surviving siblings, Carolyn Brinkerhoff of Cincinnati, Ohio, Barbara (Ray) Mobley of Prospect, Ohio, Nancy (James) Hill of Gainesville, Georgia, Celeste (Charles) Ackman, Camden, Ohio and Charles (Janet) Ehrhardt of Columbus, Ohio. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mamie and Russell Ehrhardt, and his sister, Linda Lee. Burdette was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, and will be deeply missed by family and friends.

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children...To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

Funeral Service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at the Camden United Methodist Church, 100 South Lafayette St., Camden, OH with Fred Schmidt officiating. Interment will be held in Fairmount Cemetery in Camden. Family will receive friends on Monday, May 9, 2011 from 4 – 7 P.M. at Nein-Barnes Funeral Home, 249 N. Main St., Camden, OH.

Memorial Contributions may be made to Butler County Pheasants Forever #780, 3255 Symmes Rd, Hamilton, OH 45015. Online condolences to the family via the Web site at www.barnesfuneralhome.com

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Past Services

Visitation

Monday, May 9, 2011

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Cemetery

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

Camden United Methodist Church

100 South Lafayette St., Camden, OH 45311

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