Denise E. Ahlstrom, 74, of Metamora, IL passed away at 9:10 am on Friday, December 25, 2020 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. She was born on December 19, 1946 to Norman J. and Anna M. (Ehrat) Buck Jr. in Peoria, IL. She married Rodger M. Ahlstrom on August 27, 1966 in Peoria, IL. He preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters Angie (the late Robert “Bob”) Smith and her fiance (Rich Geier and his son, Beau) and Laura (Stephen) Geiler both of Germantown Hills, IL; granddaughters, Erica Smith, Maeve Geiler, and Josie Geiler; and her brother, Bruce (Linda) Buck of East Peoria, IL. She was preceded in death by her parents.
She graduated from IVC High School in Chillicothe, IL and went on to become a licensed cosmetologist. She was married to the love of her life, Rodger, for almost 52 years. After getting married and having children, she decided to take on a new career working at the Woodford County Special Education Association as a teacher’s assistant in a preschool program at Germantown Hills School. She embraced the children she taught and treated them with the dignity and respect that they deserved. She loved the team that she worked with and created lifelong friendships that she cherished deeply.
Denise had countless gifts. Her creativity was one of those gifts. She wrote a story, “The Christmas Peanut,” which she read in classrooms to countless children…a story that highlights the uniqueness of each person and the importance of acceptance. She was also known for writing the best Christmas letters that captured the year ever so perfectly.
Another gift was her wit and sense of humor! She made everyone laugh with her creative stories and pranks. When Denise was around, there was always fun to be had and laughter in the air.
Her faith was a gift to so many people. She touched lives by teaching and living her faith. She was devoted to her religion as she served in countless ways. She taught CCD and was a youth group leader. She was an avid participant in Cursillo, TEC, WATCH, and prison ministry. She was a lector, Eucharistic minister, and parish council member at St. Mary of Lourdes. Denise would always be the first one to volunteer to help in any way needed!
Her dedication to her family was indescribable! She treasured her family like no other, always putting their needs before her own. Her granddaughters were the light of her life and they brought endless joy as she always looked forward to time spent with them. You wouldn’t find a more dedicated wife, sister, mother, grandma, or friend. She not only showed love for her own family, but extended her love to countless others who considered her their second mom/grandma. Denise left her mark on this world with her kind and caring ways, her giving heart, and her selflessness. She will truly be missed!
Christmas day was a perfect day for Denise to be called home. Rodger was given the gift of his forever love… and Denise received the greatest gift of all, eternal life.
A private funeral mass will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, December 31, 2020 at St. Mary of Lourdes Catholic Church in Metamora with Father Greg Jozefiak officiating. A walk-thru visitation will be held from 10:00 am until time of mass on Thursday at the church. Burial will be in St. Mary of Lourdes Cemetery. Due to COVID-19, CDC guidelines will be followed and masks are required. For family and friends who are unable to attend, the mass will be live-streamed for viewers at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/c/StMaryofLourdes.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to an Educational Fund for granddaughter Erica Smith, c/o CEFCU or to Holt International Children’s Services and Adoption, 250 Country Club Road, Eugene, OR 97401 with “In Honor of Denise Ahlstrom” in memo line. Online condolences at www.masonfuneralhomes.com.
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