Dolly Ahrens was born in 1917 and grew up in Marshalltown, IA. Dolly was a star basketball player on the Marshalltown high school team. Married to Claude in 1937, Dolly was a devoted mother to Paul, an avid golf player and exceptional hostess and cook.
A 1971 newspaper article in the Des Moines Register illustrated how much Dolly provided the foundation for her and Claude’s reputation as hospitable enthusiastic party givers. Dolly played an important role in Claude’s work by entertaining and always acting as the willing hostess when he invited salespeople or clients to Grinnell. The article described her as serving meals to groups ranging from 78 family members for a Christmas dinner, to 91 P.E.O.’s and their husbands for a sit-down dinner, to 250 conventioneers for an indoor-outdoor business dinner. In the article she told the reporter that she enjoyed feeding large groups, and demonstrated how her house was set up for entertaining.
Dolly was very down-to-earth and had the gift of treating people the same no matter who they were. She always tried to help those in need. Dolly was Claude’s “rock,” the one he always leaned on and depended on to be there for him. Married to Claude for fifty-five years, Dolly lost her fight to breast cancer in 1992 and passed away.
In 1994, Claude W. Ahrens established the Dolly Ahrens Achievement Scholarship Award. Since 1994, a scholarship in memory of the late Dolly Ahrens has been made available each year for a minimum of ten graduating seniors of Grinnell High School.