Cover photo for Rod Ehrlich's Obituary
Rod Ehrlich Profile Photo

Rod Ehrlich

April 5, 1946 — October 9, 2018

Rod Ehrlich

Rodney Price "Rod" Ehrlich passed away on October 9, 2018.
Rod was born on the 5th of April, 1946 to Donald and Marion (Price) Ehrlich, an industrial arts & music teacher and an artist, now deceased. Rod was a true son of Francesville, Indiana where he spent his childhood growing up as one of six siblings, 4 brothers and two sisters. He graduated from Francesville High School in 1964. It was during these formative years in Francesville that the seeds of Rods character and values became deeply rooted and honored for the rest of his life. Rod never forgot where he came from and cherished the memories and friends he made in Francesville throughout his life.
Since the age of 11, Rod knew he wanted to become an engineer. During high school, every free moment was spent at Monon Trailer where his brother Jerry gave him a job working nights to save money for college. Rod never forgot the challenge from his parents to be open and curious about new ideas and concepts, traits that would define the way he approached his professional and personal goals throughout his life. Rod was fascinated with every single detail of his life and the people with whom he came in contact. Everyone who met Rod Ehrlich felt as if they were the most interesting person he had ever met. He saw the best in everyone.
After completing one year of college, Rod joined the military during the Vietnam Era. He dreamed of becoming a Naval aviator due to his love of aircraft engines and flight. Those dreams were dashed when it was discovered that he did not meet the vision requirements. Nonetheless, Rod soldiered on and served in the States and in Korea. Among his fondest memories were of the times he spent volunteering at a Korean orphanage near his base of operations. During any military leave of absence, he could be found honing his craft of designing and building trailers, learning trade skills such as welding and tool and die cutting from several mentors at Monon Trailer. Excelling in every assignment and going far above and beyond what was required, Rod was honorably discharged from the US Army as a 1st Lieutenant when his tours of duty were complete. Rod then returned home to Indiana and enrolled in Purdue University where he completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having fully developed his skills at Monon Trailer, he was given the challenge of creating Monons first engineering department. Thus began a life-long love affair with the trailer industry.
In April of 1985, he followed his brother, Jerry Ehrlich, to start a company called Wabash National where Rod assumed the role of Head of Engineering. For over 30 years, he authored more than 60 patents at Wabash National that advanced the company and the industry. In 1997, Rod was named Outstanding Mechanical Engineer by Purdue University for his contributions to the engineering profession. Rods legacy of innovation and dedication will continue to drive Wabash National to the forefront of the industry and enhance its reputation for product excellence, safety, and leadership for many years into the future. The Ehrlich Innovation Center at Wabash National was dedicated in 2012 to recognize Rods contribution and commitment to excellence. Rod will be remembered as a pioneer in the transportation industry.
Rod married Cindy Hauk of Bluffton, Indiana in June of 1975. For the ensuing 43 years they supported one another as a team in every endeavor they undertook. Rod was passionate about his family and his children, daughter, Carrie of Chicago and son, Mark (wife, Liz) of Lafayette. He was an amazing father who instilled humility, grace and a strong work ethic. He was very involved in their lives and was so proud of them. He was especially proud that they are both Purdue engineers. Rod and Cindy were and are enthusiastic and joyful supporters of Purdue Musical Organizations (PMO). Among the many highlights of their life together were the opportunities they shared participating with PMO on trips overseas, attending performances around the country and at home. Many cherished friendships were made and continue to this day. To Rods unending delight, his grandson, Luke, was born to son Mark and daughter-in-law, Liz, in 2017. Rods legacy will be carried far into the future, safely in the care of his wife, his children and his grandson.
As one of six siblings, Rod has a large extended family. He loved each and every one of them with his whole heart. His siblings include, in Indiana, Virginia Turner (husband, Boyce, deceased), Jerry Ehrlich (wife, Connie), Jim Ehrlich (wife, Concepcion), Charlie Ehrlich (wife, Cindy), in Arizona, Derinda Ehrlich (husband, Jim Manning). In addition to his siblings, Rod has many beloved nieces and nephews who adore him. He described them as the light of his life.
He became a son to his in-laws, Max and Queenie Hauk of Monticello; and a true brother and friend to his sister-in-law, Melinda Hauk Leighty of New Mexico. He touched the lives of countless friends and co-workers who will forever hold him in their hearts.
Rod lived his Christian values every day in everything that he did. He loved his church family and most recently worked tirelessly as Chair of the Monticello United Methodist Church Finance Committee. Rod was determined to successfully lead this campaign to build a large multi-purpose facility, including a gym and a commercial kitchen that would serve families and children for many future generations. This project has come to fruition and proudly adjoins the church today.
Rod was a musician and gifted artist. He was a true "maker" and could do anything with his hands and mind. Whether it was rebuilding a car, inventing a new patent for a trailer, refinishing the hinges on his 150 year old house, woodworking, drawing a portrait, playing the trumpet, forging new trails on his property, building sand castles or any number of creations, Rod never had a shortage of projects and lived life to the fullest. His napkin sketches will be remembered by many.
He was a man of humility and grace. By the measure of his heart, the content of his character, and the genius of his brain, he was a mountain of a man. Rod loved his life, he fought a good fight, long and hard. Although our many prayers were not answered as we had hoped, through our faith we know that the battle has been won.
Visitation will be from 2pm until 8pm (EDT) on Monday, October 15th at Connection Court of the Monticello United Methodist Church located at entrance B. The church is located at 200 S. Main St., Monticello, IN 47960. Visitation will also be one hour prior to services at the church Tuesday.
Funeral services celebrating Rod's life will be at 11am (EDT), on Tuesday, October 16th in the Monticello United Methodist Church sanctuary located at entrance A with Rev. Brian Beeks officiating services.
Memorial donations can be made to: Monticello United Methodist Church Building Campaign, http://www.monticelloumchurch.org/resources/giving, Camp Tecumseh Capital Campaign, https://camptecumseh.campintouch.com/ui/forms/donor/Form, Purdue Musical Organizations Travel Fund, Purdue Cancer Research, http://giving.purdue.edu/ehrlich, or to Twin Lakes Family Food Pantry: Food Finders. Envelopes will be available at the Church. Whenever possible, online giving is appreciated.
Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home of Monticello is entrusted with care.
Messages of condolence may be extended at www.springerfuneralhome.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Rod Ehrlich, please visit our flower store.

Guestbook

Visits: 12

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree