Ehlers represented Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District from 1993 until his retirement in January 2011. The district includes Kent, Barry and Ionia counties.
Ehlers was also a nuclear physicist and college professor. He also served as a member of the Kent County Board of Commissioners for four terms and the Michigan Legislature — two years in the House and eight years in the Senate.
Zaagman Memorial Chapel of Grand Rapids is handling the funeral arrangments.
“Michigan lost an outstanding statesman today,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said Tuesday. “Vern Ehlers was an incredible man who served our state with distinction. He will be missed.”
Gov. Rick Snyder said: "The passing of Vern Ehlers is a true loss for Michigan. Vern was a devoted public official, serving four terms on the Kent County Board of Commissioners, 10 years in the Michigan Legislature, and 16 years in Congress. He represented the best Michigan had to offer and will truly be missed. I send my most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and community on behalf of all Michiganders who are mourning his loss."
Lt. Gov. Calley said: "Vern Ehlers was a gentleman and a statesman. His gentle demeanor combined with his expertise on complex policy matters made him truly unique. He was West Michigan through and through, and he made a big difference in his 83 years. My sincerest condolences to his family."