Ahrenhoerster, Lori S (nee Kangas) passed away on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, age 50, from treatment-associated leukemia. Beloved wife of Gregory M. Ahrenhoerster for 27 years (and best friend for over 30 years). Devoted mother to Cara, Travis, and Ash. Dear sister of Steve Kangas. Valued friend/mentor/teacher to many…read more
Ahrenhoerster, Lori S (nee Kangas) passed away on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, age 50, from treatment-associated leukemia. Beloved wife of Gregory M. Ahrenhoerster for 27 years (and best friend for over 30 years). Devoted mother to Cara, Travis, and Ash. Dear sister of Steve Kangas. Valued friend/mentor/teacher to many.
Of the many roles that Lori played in her life, the most important to her was motherhood. In 1997 she left her job as a high school science teacher to stay home and raise her children, an opportunity she always treasured. She also donated hundreds of hours of her time to helping new mothers, particularly with breastfeeding support. She was La Leche League leader for many years and a Certified Lactation Consultant. Her favorite aspect of her job as a Public Health Manager for the Northshore Public Health Department was doing home visits to new mothers. Any friend of Lori’s who had a baby was sure to get a homemade baby sling, a knitted hat or sweater, and/or a nice meal delivered to their home.
A lifelong learner in the purest sense, Lori returned in college in 2009 to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Health at the (then) brand new UW Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health. She was the first ever Ph.D. graduate of the program, earning her degree in 2014. Her subsequent work as a Public Health Manager required her to continue to grow her public-health expertise in topics ranging from emergency preparedness to swimming pool health inspections. She approached each new learning opportunity with rigor and sincere intellectual curiosity.
Lori was a gifted teacher, teaching professionally at both the high school and college level and also working as a tutor for many of the years she was a stay-at-home mom. This skill, along with her genuine compassion for others, drew her to serve as a mentor for the After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) organization, where she helped many women better understand both their own diagnoses and strategies for coping with the challenges of cancer treatment. In Lori’s blog, Mammary Irony, she detailed her own experiences with both breast cancer and leukemia. This blog has served and will continue to serve as an important resource for people coping with these terrible diseases.
Lori enjoyed many hobbies, but chief among them were bicycling, cooking, and knitting. Each of these allowed her to spend time and share things with others. Lori came to cycling late in life, discovering her love of it in 2017 when she participated in Team Phoenix, an organization that trains cancer survivors to complete a triathlon. For her, cycling was always a joyful social event, and she enjoyed hundreds of rides with her fellow Team Phoenix alumni, as well as the Cadence bicycling group (and many other friends and family members) over the last few years of her life. Cooking and knitting were also things she preferred to do with others whenever possible. When her busy schedule allowed, she participated in various knitting groups, and cooking was best when it was a family activity (spawning the popular hashtag #cookingwithtravis). The things she knit or cooked were almost always given to or shared with others.
A Celebration of Life event will be held once it is safe to do so from a public health standpoint.
Memorial donations to one of these three charities are greatly appreciated: Metavivor, Team Phoenix, or the UW Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health.hide
Memorial donations to one of these three charities are greatly appreciated: Metavivor, Team Phoenix, or the UW Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health.