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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Joseph “Joe” Ehrman III ‘46

Joseph Ehrman III was born December 27, 1923 in San Francisco, California, to Jean Meier Ehrman and Joseph Ehrman, Jr., and died here October 22, 2021. Aside from wartime service and college, he lived his entire life in the City. He and his sister, Patsy, spent summers through 1937 at Menucha, the summer home of their grandparents Grace and Julius Meier, in the Columbia Gorge near Corbett, Oregon. He vividly recalled extending his stay in 1930 into the fall while his grandfather campaigned successfully for Oregon’s governorship. 

Joe attended public schools in San Francisco, including Lowell High School, and graduated from the Menlo School in 1941. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, he trained in coast artillery anti-aircraft and was enrolled in the Army Specialized Training Program at Indiana University. When polio struck him in Indiana, he was placed on “limited service” and appointed a projectionist in an army movie theater.

A Boy Scout for 85 years, he joined Troop 14 (Rah!) in 1936, becoming Assistant Scoutmaster in 1944 and its 10th Scoutmaster in 1952, serving in that position for 49 years (he then returned to the role of Assistant Scoutmaster). During his tenure 256 young men achieved Eagle Scout rank. He himself earned his Eagle in 1944, and among the many BSA honors he received were the District Award of Merit, the Silver Beaver, and a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow; he was named a Distinguished Eagle Scout in 2010. In 1949 he was elected National Commander of the Knights of Dunamis, an Eagle Scout Honor Society. He relished his time at Camp Royaneh in Cazadero, California, where he served on the camp staff for many years, and he attended five national jamborees and three world jamborees.

Joe attended Antioch College in Ohio; the University of California at Berkeley (Bowles Hall), where he earned a BA in Education in 1948; and Stanford University, where he earned an MA in Education in 1953. 

He devoted his entire professional career to education, teaching for 34 years in San Francisco—30 of them at Lowell High School, where from 1952 to 1983 he served as a teacher of mathematics and mechanical drawing, counselor, testing coordinator, head counselor, and finally dean of students. He served on the Lowell Alumni Association’s board of directors for 35 years (23 as its treasurer) and as a board member of Enterprise for High School Students.

As a lifelong technology enthusiast, Joe was a movie projectionist from the age of six and took many family home movies treasured today. He was an early adopter of computers and other high-tech devices.

In 1969 he married Diane Roth Steiner, whom he’d known since childhood; she survives him. For many years they lived in the Sea Cliff area, more recently at the San Francisco Towers on Van Ness Avenue.

His sister, Patricia Ehrman Ehrman, predeceased him in 1969. His “niblings” (as he called his sister’s children) are Spencer M. Ehrman, Jr., Debra-Jo Ehrman Kaye (and husband Ted), and Susan Ann Ehrman. Their children are David Spencer Ehrman, John Gable Ehrman, Mason Ehrman Kaye, Robert Ehrman Kaye, Rachel Patricia Ehrman-Dupre, and Joseph Vladimir Ehrman-Dupre. They all delight in memories of Joe’s love of family and his folded-napkin “mouse”. He leaves four great-grand-niblings.
Joe belonged to the Concordia-Argonaut Club since 1928 and stayed in excellent physical condition his entire life. He worshipped at Temple Emanu-El, where his stepfather, Irving F. Reichert, long served as rabbi and his wife, Diane, held many positions in the Sisterhood. His passions—beyond scouting and education—included car travel, photography, and the opera, theater, ballet, and symphony. 

Inurnment will be in the Joseph Ehrman family mausoleum in Home of Peace Cemetery.