Prudence  Ahrens
Prudence  Ahrens
Prudence  Ahrens
Prudence  Ahrens

Obituary of Prudence Hall (Stephenson) Ahrens


Age 100, of St. Paul. Amazing mom, grandma, great-grandma. Passed away peacefully at home April 13, 2023.

Prudence was born Prudence Hall (no middle name!) in December 1922, in St. Paul, and grew up in the Crocus Hill neighborhood of St. Paul with her brother Henry and their parents, H.B. and Harriet.

She attended Central High School in St. Paul, in the same class as Peanuts strip creator Charles M. Schulz.

For about six weeks in the summer of 1939, Prudence, then a high school sophomore, Henry and Harriet took an amazing trip to Europe, getting to England on – we think - the Cunard-White Star Line’s Queen Elizabeth ocean liner, then seeing the sights in France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, England, Scotland and Germany in grand style. Their epic tour ended in Southampton, England, for return to the states a mere two weeks before the start of World War II on Sept. 1 when Germany invaded Poland.

After graduating from Central in 1941, Prudence took classes at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority.

In December 1946, with the flames from World War II extinguished, she married her wartime sweetheart Gordon Stephenson in a small ceremony at her childhood Crocus Hill home. They lived in Minneapolis near the U of M campus while dad attended and graduated from law school there, and she put her considerable kitchen talents to good use wading through customer correspondence at General Mills.

A few years later – October 1950 - Prudence and Gordon had their first child, Jeff. And then three years later in September 1953 their second, Suzy. Ten years later, February 1963, their third child, Rob, came into the world.

Prudence was an active parent/homemaker with three kids and a busy household, but also found time for hobbies she enjoyed: stained glass, photography and nature – birds especially. And cardinals specifically. They appeared in her stained glass work and photography, on wrapping paper and as Christmas tree ornaments. She was also the quintessential dog person – a lover of all, but most especially basset hounds and Gordon setters. And she had deep, deep love for her rescue golden retriever, Alex.

She started swimming in her 50s, getting a fitness membership at Lilydale in Mendota Heights. Swimming really clicked with her. She enjoyed it so much and did so well that she won the Presidential Physical Fitness Award from President Jimmy Carter in 1976. And although she never played, there are first-hand family reports of her hitting a bullet of a softball squarely through an unsuspecting garage door window during a backyard family game. That was amazing.

She later discovered yoga at Lilydale and then turned to an in-home personal trainer who made regular visits right up until a few years before her passing.

For years, with every Minnesota State Fair she took home a handful of award ribbons, frequently winning sweepstakes-level praise for her bread, cookies and granola. Taking that skill one step further, in 1985 she published a cookbook – Salt-Free Baking at Home - for the benefit of her brother, Henry, who had survived several heart attacks in the mid-‘70s and needed to change his diet.

Prudence remarried in 1981. She and Dr. Robert Ahrens were together until Dr. Ahrens passed away in 2008.

In 1983 they moved from the Kings-Maplewood neighborhood near the University of St. Thomas to Macalester-Groveland, where she lived for the next four decades, the last 15 years with her daughter Suzy, who lovingly became her primary caregiver.

Prudence was preceded in death by parents H.B. and Harriet Hall, brother Henry (Grace); husband Robert M. Ahrens; first husband Gordon A. Stephenson. Survived by three children from her first marriage, Jeff Stephenson (Sheila Casey), Susan Denny, Rob Stephenson (Donna Bronk); two grandkids, four great-grandkids.

Celebration of life May 24, 1:30 p.m., House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Ave., St. Paul.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, Minn., or the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.


Celebration of Life

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
House of Hope Presbyterian Church
797 Summit Ave
Saint Paul , Minnesota, United States
(651) 227-6311
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