A Trenton resident since 1978, Fred Ehrlenbach won election to the select board in 2011. He currently chairs that board and also serves as a Woodlawn trustee and vice chair of the Acadia National Park Advisory Committee. Ehrlenbach is the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce president. BRIAN SWARTZ PHOTO

Selectman Ehrlenbach wears many hats

  1. Frederick “Fred” Ehrlenbach traces his Trenton connection to just a few days after his birth in 1948.

“I came home from the Bar Harbor hospital to Trenton, to my grandparents’ summer cottage,” Fred said. His parents and grandparents lived in Ellsworth; growing up there and graduating from Ellsworth High School, he studied civil engineering technology at the University of Maine and then worked for Ray Builders from 1971 to 1986.

That year the Irving Oil Corp. placed Fred “in charge of construction, maintenance” at bulk plants and terminal operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Rejoining Ray Builders as “an estimator, designer, bookkeeper” in 1996, he retired from that company in 2011.

Many people know him better from his long law-enforcement career. A part-time Ellsworth police officer since 1979, he started working for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department in 1980.

“Over the last few years I’ve worked anywhere from 300 to 700 hours a year, three or four shifts per month on an as-needed, phone-call basis,” Fred noted. “I enjoy serving the people, helping the people.”

He “built a year-round residence next” to his family’s summer cottage and moved to Trenton in 1978. Serving on the town’s planning board from 1980 to 2011, he won election to the Board of Selectmen in 2011.

Named the board chairman a year later, he has worked closely with other selectmen to address different issues. Asked the greatest challenge facing Trenton in 2019, Fred responded, “The education budget, trying to balance the education costs and the mill rate.”

“As selectmen, we have to balance the needs of the children with the needs of the elderly” living on fixed incomes, he said.

The Trenton town meeting moderator since 1984 and a Trenton Budget Committee member since 2000, Fred has served one term on the Trenton School Committee and twice on the town’s Comprehensive Planning Committee. When school administration consolidation embroiled Hancock County in 2007 and 2008, Fred was the Trenton community representative to AOS 91.

Currently he is the vice chairman of the Acadia National Park Advisory Committee and represents Trenton with that group. President of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, Fred also serves on Hancock County’s Budget Advisory Committee, the Woodlawn Board of Trustees and the Ellsworth Harbor Commission.

Married for 49 years, Fred and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children. Their daughter, Heather Dorr, lives in Ellsworth and teaches at the Ella Lewis School in Steuben. She follows in the footsteps of Elizabeth, who was a teacher and then principal at the Surry Elementary School for almost 30 years.

Heather has two children: 15-year-old Benton and 10-year-old Braelynn.

The Ehrlenbachs’ son, Roddy, lives in Carrabassett Valley and works at Sugarloaf USA during the skiing season and on trail maintenance and environmental compliance the rest of the year. Roddy has a daughter, 5-year-old Adeline.

Fred has “always been a skier, thanks to my mother.” When he wanted to try out for the Bryant E. Moore School basketball team, “she said, ‘No, we’re going skiing.’”

Fred started skiing at a rope tow-equipped private slope on McFarland Hill in Bar Harbor. The Ehrlenbachs, including Fred and his three brothers, skied often at the Bald Mountain ski area in Dedham in the 1950s and 1960s.

When he was in seventh and eighth grade, “my grandparents would take August and cruise the coast of Maine, from Boothbay Harbor to Machias. I was the deckhand.”

Today he and Elizabeth go “boating in the summer, in the Acadia region,” in their 21-foot walk-around. “We have been over to Camden and Castine, Isle au Haut, Eggemoggin Reach,” he said.

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