By Patric Hedlund
Popular California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Ehly, 50 died Saturday, March 27. His wife Shannon was at his side throughout a roller-coaster three months of recovery and then relapse after his first massive stroke on December 28. Ehly was the Public Information Officer at the Fort Tejon CHP Station, known for his buoyant sense of humor.
Ehly showed inspiring resilience after being found unconscious on December 28 at his home. His daughter wrote at the time, “There was a lot of blood and pressure in his brain. When the ambulance arrived at the hospital, my dad went into immediate surgery.”
He had multiple surgeries to stop the bleeding, including one which removed a portion of the skull to minimize damage to the brain from pressure caused by the bleed. He was kept unconscious through much of January in a medically-induced coma to give the brain a chance to heal.
Throughout nearly three months his friends and family stayed linked with humor, love and prayer, exhibited frequently in updates on a family website.
In what appeared to be an amazing recovery, by February Ehly was in physical therapy in Fresno to learn how to move, sit and walk again. Then he began joking and communicating.
He was brought back to San Joaquin Community Hospital for a surgery scheduled for early April to replace the piece of skull which had been removed. Meanwhile, he was placed in an assisted living facility.
Friends report that he was doing beautifully, even assembling the ingredients for dinner one night.
Then, on March 22, while brushing his teeth, Ehly had a second massive stroke. This time he lost significant vital function in the brain.
“Our Mark fought very hard and my sweet Shannon was very brave,” wrote Shannon’s brother.
“Please pray for the family during this very difficult time… Words cannot express what I feel right now. I am saddened and relieved all at the same time. Mark will definitely be missed,” Mark’s brother-in-law said.
Services were scheduled by the family for Thursday, April 1, 2:30 p.m., at Valley Baptist Church, 4800 Fruitvale Avenue (corner of Fruitvale and Hageman), Bakersfield.
This is part of the April 02, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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