by William Sampson
Veteran woodworking editor Steve Ehle dies
A fixture in the woodworking industry for decades, Ehle is remembered for
contributions to industry and his sense of humor.
Steve Ehle, the longtime editor of Wood Digest and indefatigable booster of the woodworking industry has died one day short of his 70th birthday. His ca- reer spanned decades in newspaper and magazine
journalism, but it also included a stint as a semi-pro baseball
player and a legacy of spreading good humor.
Stephen Patterson Ehle was born January 16, 1949, in
Stoughton, Wisconsin, the third child of Claire Olin and
Rose Patterson Ehle. He died January 15, 2019, in Fitchburg,
Wisconsin after a battle with pneumonia.
Ehle grew up in Evansville, Wisconsin, and showed early
promise as an athlete in high school, lettering in baseball, but
also playing basketball and competing in track and field. He
played baseball for the University of Wisconsin-Madison during
his freshman year and later played semi-pro baseball for 11 years.
He pitched a no-hitter in the 1970s and was the only player to be
elected to the Home Talent All-Star Team five times.
After graduating from UW-Madison with a degree in
radio/TV journalism, Ehle launched a career reporting,
editing, and taking photographs for a series of publications,
including National Farmer’s Organization’s Guidelight. He
was sports editor at the Evansville Post and a correspondent
for Madison’s Capital Times. While he was editor of the Courier
Hub in Stoughton, Wisconsin, that newspaper garnered 26
awards from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
Tim Fixmer, who is the CEO of CCI Media, which owns
FDMC magazine and Woodworking Network, brought Ehle
into the woodworking trade press, tapping him as editor of
Wood Digest in 1986. “He came to us from a small, weekly paper
and jumped right in to quickly learn the industry. And once he
had the reins in his grip, it didn’t take him long to establish a
strong following,” said Fixmer, who worked with Ehle for more
than 20 years during his tenure at Johnson Hill Press, Cygnus
Business Media, and CCI Media. “Widely known for his quick
wit and irreverent sense of humor, Steve was an outstanding
writer who cared deeply for the woodworking industry.”
Ehle traveled extensively across North America, Germany,
Italy, Great Britain, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain,
Montenegro, and Puerto Rico, much of it reporting on the
After Ehle left Wood Digest in 2009, he did a number of
freelance projects, including writing for FDMC. For several
years he played a key role in the annual Benchmark Survey
compiled by the Cabinet Makers Association.
Ehle was also actively involved in promoting the woodworking industry. He regularly participated in the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America fly-in events in Washington,
D.C., to help educate Congressional leaders about the concerns of the industry. He was also concerned about training
Steve Ehle was the longtime editor of Wood Digest magazine.