Kathleen LaVonne Salmon Ahrens, 79, passed away peacefully on June 30, 2020, in Napa, California, where she had lived since 2017.
Kathleen was born Aug 8, 1940, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to Edwin O. and Ethel Edith Olga Salmon of Henning, in Otter Tail County. She attended Henning schools and graduated from Henning High School in 1958. She attended the University of Minnesota and in 1960, married Warren R. Ahrens of Okabena, Minnesota. They had three daughters, and in 1970, the family moved to Elk River (Sherburne County). After divorcing in 1985, she moved to the Kingfield neighborhood of south Minneapolis, near Lake Harriet, where she spent many happy hours walking with her beloved dog, Maggie.
Kathleen spent many years working for Northwestern Bell (later AT&T) in many capacities, including service center manager, business account manager and training instructor. She retired in 1998, and traveled the world with her partner, Bruce Butler, often on a sailboat owned by a friend. They visited Fiji, Australia, Greece, and many other exotic locales. With family, Kathleen also enjoyed a trip to Africa, including a Serengeti photo safari and a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro; a trip to England; a volunteer trip to Aruba; and a walking tour of Scotland.
Seeing other lands and meeting people of different cultures fueled her lifelong empathy and desire to help others. She spent several years volunteering for various political, non-profit and volunteer organizations, including National and Minnesota chapters of NOW, United Way and AT&T Pioneers.
Kathleen was a voracious reader, a tireless walker, a music lover and a Minnesota sports fan. She held season tickets for the Gopher women’s hockey team, as well as the St Paul Symphony. She wholeheartedly supported her daughters in their various pursuits, including ice hockey, rugby, horse ownership and other sports, as well as their college educations.
Kathleen is survived by her daughters: Deb Ahrens (Sarah White) of Sacramento, California; Rebecca Remley (John Burbach) of Broomfield, Colorado; and Elizabeth Emmett (Joe Emmett) of Napa, California; her longtime partner: Bruce Butler of Minneapolis, and his granddaughters: Shelby and Devon; grandsons: Matthew Remley, Trevor Remley and Samuel Emmett; sisters: Anne Hilchen (Wayne Hilchen) of Vining, Minnesota; and Jeanne Carey (Randy Warman) of Independence, Missouri; brother-in-law: Clarence Berndt of St. Louis, Missouri; nieces and nephews and their children: Charity Coates (David Coates); Ann Marie Hilchen (Terry Lacher); Paul Hilchen (Jena Hilchen); Jonathan Berndt (Jennifer Berndt); Sara Berndt (Joshua Botts); and Daniel Carey (Kaitlyn Carey).
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Ethel, and her sister Rosalie Berndt.
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