Lester E. Ehler

lester-ehlerDr. Lester E. Ehler left for his heavenly home on Sept. 2, 2016, in Vacaville, CA. Les was born Jan. 3, 1946, in Slaton, Texas, the third of seven children of Ervin and Irene Ehler. He was raised on the family farm in Idalou, Texas, and was enamored with insects from an early age. After graduation from high school, he attended Texas Tech University from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in entomology in 1968. Les then attended the University of California-Berkeley, graduating with a Doctorate in entomology in 1972. Dr. Ehler was a UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, retiring after 35 years in 2008. Dr. Ehler was a noted entomologist and biological control specialist. Over his career, he taught entomology students and conducted research on many types of insects. He became a respected scientist, not only in academic circles, but also in agriculture in many countries where he provided consulting services to solve for pest problems. He was a prolific author, writing and co-writing publications on various topics in pest management and the use of biological control to eradicate specific pests. In 1990, he co-authored the book Critical Issues in Biological Control. In 2003, his book Genetics, Evolution and Biological Control was published. Dr. Ehler was an advocate for biological control of insects and a national leader in the discipline of biological control. In 2000, he was elected president of the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) headquartered in Montpellier, France. An example of his work occurred in the Capitol Park of Sacramento, CA. Obscure scale was threatening the park’s oak trees. Les used an imported parasitic wasp to the scale. In a few years, the scale had been significantly reduced. In less than 10 years, scale levels were reduced to near complete control. An avid fisherman, Les loved fishing the lakes of Northern California as well as a trek or two to Alaska fishing for salmon. His wit and charm and his intellectual perspective will be missed by many. Les is survived by his son, Brian of Susanville, CA, daughter, Mary Ehler Yung and husband, Eric, and granddaughters, Emma Yung and Georgiana Grace Yung of Sacramento, CA. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joseph; and sister, Loretta. He is survived by brothers, Eugene (Mary) of Denton, Texas, Howard (Rita) of Midland, Texas, and sisters, Jan Chapman (Carl) of Houston, Texas, and Amy Willingham of Irving, Texas. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Memorial services will be held at a later date.
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