LAHR, Arlene D., age 91
Died: Friday, December 1st, 2023
Mass of Christian Burial: 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 11, 2023 at St. Olaf Catholic Church with Father James Kurzynski as celebrant
Visitation: One hour prior to Mass at church
Interment: St. Patrick Cemetery, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to St. Olaf Catholic Church
Arlene "Tena" D. Lahr, of Eau Claire, died on Friday, December 1, 2023 at age 91 with family members by her side.
Tena was born on August 13, 1932 to the late Walter and Margaret (Weinand) Aumann in Cornell, Wisconsin. Early in life, she and her brothers tended to the family farm in the township of Worden, and attended school in Stanley, Wisconsin. A classic Wisconsin girl, Tena's first job was at a cheese factory, followed by a position at the Stanley boarding house of which she was immensely proud to be earning two dollars per week.
After a loving courtship, Tena married Eugene "Gene" Lahr of Stanley on May 14, 1952 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Stanley. The two moved to Eau Claire shortly thereafter, eventually settling in their family home on the city's north side in 1964. There, Tena and Gene raised six sons, attended St. Olaf Catholic Church, and became neighbors and close friends to many over the 50+ years they resided in the same home.
Tena was a woman whose list of interests was as long and as varied as her life. For decades, summers were enjoyed amid family and friends on campgrounds and around fires, with fond memories made at Coon Fork Campground and Fireside Lake Resort. She was well-versed in rummy, cribbage, and other card games; and was often giddy when playing lottery scratch-offs and visiting casinos.
Tena was a frequent thrift sale patron, a collector of odds and ends and trinkets and knick-knacks for herself and as gifts for those that she loved. She admired butterflies and birds: the beauty in their colors, the grace with which they fly, their perseverance amid changing winds.
Throughout her life, Tena continued to work and volunteer while caring for her family, spending time cleaning homes, cooking at a daycare, and holding official and unofficial roles at church. As a homemaker, Tena was likely one of the only people in the world who truly found joy in doing laundry. She baked cookies and cakes and fudges and trail mixes. But of all her kitchen triumphs, the crowd-pleaser were her famous "Tena Lahr Bars," which had her children and grandchildren feuding for the last delightful bite in every pan.
Those that knew Tena (of which there are MANY), knew her to be a vivacious, quick-witted and loving human. She was sharp, shrewd, and swift to speak up with a remark - the result of growing-up with six brothers and being a mother to six sons. She exuded an undeniable mix of classiness and sassiness, and punctuated each and every conversation with a cheerful chuckle.
She was a woman of charming quirks and characteristics that will be remembered fondly: her "keeping room" filled with treasures and memories; the gifting of dollar bills with the recipient's initials in the serial number; her insistence that grandchildren "wash their patties" with a wet washcloth after eating; a library of greeting cards she received as well as those to be sent; her desire to make sure her grandchildren had a complete set of state quarters from both the Pennsylvania and Denver mints; her Christmas tradition of gifting the snacks you ate most at her house.
Tena was truly a keeper of memories, moments, and histories. She regaled friends and family with stories, every one of them significant to her and likely to make others smile. The network of people, friends, families, and connections she could recall made her a must-see fixture of family reunions and casual get-togethers alike. Tena was very much the quintessential Midwestern woman - the one who would keep you an hour past your departure time by weaving a wonderful anecdote into two or three tales, and feeding you one extra snack before hitting the road.
In addition to her lively personality, Tena's capacity for love was limitless. She was as warm and welcoming as they come, opening her home to anyone - be they a friend or family member in need, or just stopping by for a social call. Tena would often remember and write down the finer details of people's lives as a reflection of her love and how special they were to her. She wrote individual's names on items that reminded her of them, eventually gifting them for any and all occasions.
Tena's legacy is one of love by the virtue of how authentically she shared herself with others, through the loving words she spoke and selfless actions she performed over her long life. To have met Tena once, to have seen her smile, is to be forever changed.
Tena is survived by her sons, Thomas (Michael Radoff), Stephen (Carrie), Robert, and Brent (Jeana); daughter-in-law, Pamela Lahr; grandchildren, Alex (Sarah), Taylor (Eric), James, Jessie (Dan), Kassondra (Zach), Heather (Meranda), Emily (Jess), Samantha (Roger), Andrew, and Camryn; great-grandchildren, Charlotte, Dylan, Ryan, and Eli; brother, Clayton; and dozens of nieces, nephews, family members and friends.
Tena was preceded in death by her husband, Gene; sons, Michael and Randy; grandson, Phillip; and brothers, Milton, Eugene, Glenn, James, and John.