Ahrens, Leroy "Lee" T. 95, of Elgin passed away on October 18, 2012 at Rosewood Care Center, Elgin. He was born on June 18, 1917 in Elgin to Thurburn E. and Mary A. (Shine) Ahrens. Lee was married to Mildred V. (Schwartz), the love of his life, in Elgin, on October 11, 1937. This year, on the 11th, with relatives and friends, they celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary at Rosewood Care Center, where they resided. His children are Carol J. Viola of St. Charles and Kurtis L. (Patricia) Ahrens of Rio Rico, AZ. Lee was a 42 years employee of NIGas Company, rising through the ranks from welder to management. He was a talented artist (Sign Painter), musician/craftsman (banjo) and Harley Davidson enthusiast. Lee had a sidecar for his Harley, so that his Boxer, Muggs, wearing hand-crafted goggles, could enjoy the wind in her face. Several of the banjos he built are played by musicians in Las Vegas and by his close banjo-buddy, John Burner. His talent extended to the automotive area. In his extensive garage and shop, he and his teenaged son and nephew, built a flat-head dragster, which they raced. Lee gave it a special paint-job. Lee was a Veteran of WWII, having served in the Armored Division as a tank driver and as an MP on Okinawa. He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, and Army of Occupation Medal Japan. In September of 1946, his wife and two children welcomed him home. He was preceded in death by his parents, two younger sisters and spouses, Margaret (Irv) Vierig and Mary (Howard) Thomas; Son-in-law, Leo V. Viola; Mother-in-law and father-in-law, William and Anna (Moeller) Schwartz; nephew, Glen Vierig; brother-in-law and spouse, Clarence (Vernie) Schwartz. Surviving are his wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law; two grandchildren, Marcus L. (Darcy) Ahrens and Andrea Stevens; four great grandchildren, Jacob L. Ahrens, Benjamin P. Ahrens, John L. Stevens and Matthew Stevens; sister-in-law, Barbara (Elroy) Krich; brother-in-law, Ronald Kupitz; and twelve nieces and nephews. His beloved cat, Blackjack, who also enjoys banjo music, survives him. Services will be private; Laird Funeral Home is in care of arrangements. For information, 847-741-8800 or www.lairdfamilyfuneralservices.com. The family appreciated the kindness and care of Dr. A. Shah, the staff of Harbor Lights Hospice, and Rosewood Care Center, Elgin.
Published in Courier News on October 21, 2012