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Harry Duane Ahrens

Harry Duane Ahrens, 85, passed away Monday, December 5, 2022, at Hot Springs Health in Thermopolis following a period of declining health.

Born February 11, 1937, in Elmwood, Neb., he was one of five children of Harry and Marjorie (Miller) Ahrens. Joining the Army in 1957, he served as an electronic signal intelligence in Shemya Island, Alaska, where he tracked Russian rocket tests. Data collected was instrumental in our own space program’s success. He was one of the first people to hear and track Sputnik and Laika, the first Dog in space. He also tracked two failed attempts by the Russians to put a man in space. Harry’s next duty stations were Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and Sinop, Turkey whose work there is still highly classified.

On March 2, 1962, he married Carol Stedman in Lincoln, Neb. To this union was born a son and three daughters. The couple moved to Thermopolis from Colorado in 2001.

Harry was employed as a Mason working throughout the United States. He enjoyed metal detecting, prospecting and fishing.

Harry is survived by his children, Russell of Thermopolis, Jackie (Corey) Brennfoerder of Edgar, Neb., Theresa (Matt) Money of Remsen, N.Y., and Jennifer (Rich) Hanson of Hickman, Neb .; brother, Larry of Farragut, Iowa; sister, Norma Nuss of Lincoln, Neb .; grandchildren, Ashley and Courtney Shuck, Jade Filbey, Luke Money and Nick Hanson; and great grandchild, Sophie Filbey. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Lyle and Howard; and wife, Carol.

A family gathering was held Wednesday, December 7, 2022.

Mortimore Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.  Messages may be offered at


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