Nancy Gail Ahrens

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Nancy Gail Ahrens, 76, passed away at Crossing Rivers Health medical center in Prairie du Chien, surrounded by her family on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. 

She was born on Sept. 11, 1943, in Platteville, to Don and Bette Knapp. 

She grew up in Prairie du Chien, where, as a child, she had a love for horses and dreamt of being a cowgirl. She owned a horse named Bill, a.k.a. “Knothead Bill.” In high school, she was the drum majorette for the high school band. She could twirl that baton like no other. She graduated from Prairie du Chien High School in 1961. 

Soon thereafter, she met a local farm boy, Lowell Ahrens, and they were married on May 11, 1963, at St. Peter’s Lutheran in Prairie du Chien. From there, as with many young married couples, they moved around a bit looking for a place to settle down, work and raise their family. Mineral Point was their first major stop. By this time, they had their three boys, Erich, Mark and Brad. She worked as a CNA at the Mineral Point Care Center before the family moved to Dodgeville. This is where her family set up camp and her boys were raised. Speaking of camping, her husband and boys loved camping, especially in the Black River State Forest at Pigeon Creek Campground. We all have many fond memories there. We know she loved being with her family and would go anywhere and do anything to be with us. We’re pretty sure she tolerated the camping aspect but loved being there wholeheartedly with her family. 

While in Dodgeville she worked as a teacher’s aide for the early childhood program at Dodgeville Elementary School. She was also involved in the music ministry at Abundant Life Christian Center, where she beautifully played her autoharp and sang while leading people in worship. She later became an ordained minister. We can’t forget about her favorite dogs, Buffy, and later on, Sadie. 

After her boys were off on their own, she and Lowell moved back to their roots in Prairie du Chien. She worked for Lori Knapp Inc. for 22 years. The corporation was inspired by and named after her sister Lori Knapp. It was founded by their father Don Knapp and named after her sister, Lori, to ensure that the needs of disabled people were being met. 

She also traveled the country with Lowell, from coast to coast and border to border, seeing most of the 50 states. One of her highlights was eating a full Maine lobster, actually in Maine; she loved lobster. She was able to take a trip to Ireland to visit the land of her ancestry. Unfortunately, the travel ended and her work stopped after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Her husband was instrumental in giving her the care she needed during her decline, faithfully by her side. 

There was one more important thing she needed to do. She was a writer as well and had been writing from her heart and her life experiences for many years. She wanted to share her writings with people. Through the collaboration of family and friends, she had her first book, “A Hearts Cry,” published in 2018. 

Psalm 130:1 “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord.” She loved and lived first and foremost for her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She was an incredible woman of faith. She also loved and lived for her family. She will be greatly missed by all. 

Nancy is survived by her beloved husband of 56 years, Lowell; sons, Erich (Abby), Mark (Jamie), Brad (Stephanie); mother, Bette; brothers, Donny (Sandi), Randy (Stacy); 12 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews. 

She is preceded in death by her father, Don, and sister, Lori. 

Funeral services will be Thursday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. at the Cornerstone Foursquare Church, Pastor Dean Funk officiating, with burial in the Evergreen Cemetery, both in Prairie du Chien. Friends may call on Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Garrity Funeral Home in Prairie du Chien and one hour prior to services at the church on Thursday.

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