LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Bremer Ehrler, a former Kentucky secretary of state who also held top offices in Jefferson County government, died early Sunday morning. He was 98.
Ehrler's government career began with the U.S. Postal Service in 1936 and went on through numerous retirements. He died at 12:48 a.m. Sunday, Owen Funeral Homes manager Kenny Hardin said.
After retiring from the post office, Ehrler was elected county clerk three times, serving from 1973 to 1984. He became Jefferson County judge-executive when he was appointed by Gov. Martha Layne Collins in 1985 after Mitch McConnell was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was appointed as Jefferson County sheriff in May 1993, replacing Jim Greene, who pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and resigned.
Ehrler was with his family watching the University of Louisville play Notre Dame when he slumped over and died, his son, Denny Ehrler, told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/UYIQnd ). The Saturday evening game went into five overtimes and ran past midnight.
"He had a lot of integrity and always made the right decision and thought about other people," Denny Ehrler said. "He was an honest man. A fair man who liked people."
Ehrler's grandfather, Joseph Maria Ehrler, a Swiss immigrant, was the founder of Ehrler's Dairy, and Bremer Ehrler worked on the family's dairy farm as a young man.
Ehrler began work as a substitute clerk in the Louisville Post Office in 1936. He was a general superintendent in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy appointed him postmaster.
Ten years later, Ehrler became district manager and retired in 1973 to enter politics.
He became president of the Kentucky County Clerks Association, president of the Louisville Rotary Club and retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.
Ehrler made his only run for state office in 1987, winning a crowded Democratic primary for secretary of state. He swamped Republican Ron Sanders of Hanson in the general election, during which his age — 73 at the time — had been an issue.