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Tuesday, May 30, 2017
5:00 - 7:00pm (Central time)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Starts at 10:00am (Central time)
John Henry Ahlers, Sr. passed from this life on May 25, 2017 to join his beloved wife of 63 years, Colleen.
John’s story began in Yoakum, Texas, in De Witt County, where he was born on November 9, 1935, to Erline Ullmann and Henry F. Ahlers.
On Saturday, April 30, 1954, just before John graduated from Roy Miller high school, friends arranged a blind date with a farmer's daughter from Gregory, Texas. That date would change their lives forever. They went to the Buccaneer parade that evening and then to the Weber Root Beer Stand. Things seemed to be moving pretty fast because the next morning John went with Colleen and her family to Mass. They were together all the time and went to each other's prom and graduation. Six months after that blind date they were married.
John and Colleen farmed with Colleen’s dad for a year, before he went to work for Reynolds Metals where he stayed until his retirement 31 years later.
Faith was vital to John. They were members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Portland where John served as a Eucharistic minister and an adorer of the Blessed Sacrament in the Eucharistic chapel. He co-chaired the church festival and taught CCD. He participated in the Journey to Damascus, an ACTS retreat, and was active in Bible studies.
Serving God and community went hand-in-hand. John served as a director of the Reynolds Credit Union for many years. He was a lifetime member of the Corpus Christi Blood Bank and was a 14 gallon donor. He was also a charter member of the Portland Lions Club.
John was honored when he was given a flag that flew over the state capitol by then-state representative Robert Early for his dedication to the community.
John loved his three boys. He was a Cub Scout Master, coached his sons and grandson’s Little League, and was president of the Portland Little League. Once his granddaughters came along and proved what he already knew…girls could play sports, too. He helped any way he could, from getting the fields ready to teaching sportsmanship, stressing the values of winning, losing and fair play. John was always involved in the lives of his kids, his grandchildren or somebody else’s kids.
John’s coaching advice was that first comes your faith, then family, then the books, and then the game. John and Colleen were lifetime athletic booster club members of the Gregory Portland Independent School District.
John also had many hobbies including working on genealogy projects and family history. He loved creating with his hands from building indoor and outdoor furniture, benches, swings to bird houses, and many things for the church.
He was a member of the Rose Society. He loved, grew and showed roses and even made rosaries from the petals and showed groups how to make them as well. He had four honeybee hives in his backyard and harvested honey.
John and his sons were avid hunters and fisherman. They raised and trained Brittany Spaniels. Annual vacations to the Hill Country were cherished activities of the Ahlers family. As a couple, John and Colleen went dancing regularly.
He loved his hobby of writing. He did extensive family history research and wrote books on family ancestry and their voyages from Germany to the United States. He most recently wrote weekly articles for the Portland News about Gregory-Portland high school sports and local history. He also occasionally wrote for the South Texas Catholic magazine. His stories always revolved around faith or history. He loved local history so much that he regularly attended historical society meetings.
John wanted to be remembered most for what kind of husband he was, what kind of father he was and what kind of grandfather he was. John dearly wanted to instill the values of faith and family to his children and grandchildren. John loved to serve. He led a life of service to God, community, school and city, but above all, John liked to be called a family man.
John is preceded in death by his wife, Colleen, an infant daughter, Jolene Marie Ahlers, two sisters Shirley Rose and Joyce Shaw and brother, Ray Ahlers.
He is survived by sons John Ahlers Jr (Tammy), Jassen Ahlers (Kim) and Jerald Ahlers (Pat).
Grandchildren John "Trey” Ahlers III (Lori Beth,) Valerie Gowens (Stephen,) Matthew Ahlers, Aaron Ahlers, Kayla Ahlers, Alyssa Ahlers, Austin Ahlers, Steven Bourassa.
Great grandchildren Lorelai, Landric and Adelaine Gowens, Lilah Holley, Abigail Colleen Ahlers, Rohan Ahlers, and many nieces and nephews.
John’s Pall Bearers are John Ahlers III, Austin Ahlers, Steven Bourassa, Stephen Gowens, Karl Ahlers and Barry Albrecht.
Honorary Pall Bearers are Vito, Duran, Herbert Heck, Danny Hanson, Francis Gandy, Cline Stelzig, Adolph Romanek and Harold Harrison.
John wanted to give special thanks to Shirley Ahlers and Lee Ola Albrecht who kept up his spirits, gave him rides to the doctor appointments and to visit friends, and nourished his body and soul with their food and generosity.
A visitation will be held from 5-8PM on May 30 at Our Lady of Mt Carmel. A recitation of the rosary will be held at 7PM that same evening.
The celebration of John’s life will continue with the Mass of Christian Burial that will be celebrated at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church at 10AM on May 31. The interment to follow to Palms Memorial Gardens.