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Thomas Erle
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Thomas Ulrich Erle, 99, passed away at Bethany Home on Sunday evening, May 31.

He was born in Mexico City on April 10, 1910 to Herman and Amelia Erle, and when he was six months old the family moved to Farmington. He went to Shady Grove Elementary School in Farmington and graduated from Escalon High School in 1928. Except for the three years he spent in the Army (1942-1945) he had lived in Farmington his whole life.

Mr. Erle was a respected gunsmith, walnut farmer, repairman, hunter, fisherman, and wildlife photographer. He enjoyed hiking in the mountains where he traveled all over the back country of Yosemite, including a 10,000 foot elevation through the Sonora Pass. He also made three trips to Half Dome from the bottom of the Yosemite floor as well as making two trips to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on foot.

Survivors include his many friends and his niece and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his two sisters Bertha and Anna.

For his 90th birthday, he was sent on a trip to Africa, where he hunted Kudu and a boar hog. He still had the ability to hunt large game and proved it by bringing back beautiful pictures. He held a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association, John Birch Society and was also a member of the Safari Club International as well as the Escalon Historical Society.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, June 3 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Deegan Funeral Chapel, Escalon. A memorial service will be on Thursday, June 4 at 10 a.m. at Deegan Funeral Chapel with burial following at Farmington Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Escalon Historical Society, PO Box 193, Escalon, CA 95320.

On line register book available at

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

June 3, 2009