Professor James Robert Ahrens, son of Presbyterian missionaries Martin R and Lisetta Ahrens, was born June 7, 1919 in St. Louis, Missouri. He died June 7, 2013 at Topeka Presbyterian Manor. He was raised with eight siblings in Northern India, graduating from Woodstock High School in the Himalayas. He attended Wooster College and received his JD from the University of Chicago School of Law after serving as an officer in the Army/Air Force Intelligence Corps in China during WWII. He married Geraldine H. Keske on September 27, 1942 in Denver, Colorado. She preceded him in death.
Professor Ahrens taught at Washburn University School of Law from 1948-1988. During his tenure he designed the Washburn Law Institute, and served as the faculty advisor for the Washburn Moot Court Team, taking teams to National Finals. He initiated comparative law programs specifically for Yugoslavia and England. Professor Ahrens was named Washburn Distinguished Professor of Law and received honors including a Law School endowment in tort law in his name.
He married Margaret Cernohous Post on June 14, 1982. She survives. Jim is also survived by sister, Fredericka Cobren of Alexandria, VA and brother, Martin Ahrens of Edinburgh, Scotland. His surviving children are Martha E. Miller, Martin Ahrens (Carolyn Szafran Ahrens), Barbara Jackson (Dr. Michael Jackson), Jane Weidling (Frank Weidling), Anton Ahrens (Susan Stickley), and Dr. Julia Ahrens (R. Thomas Wolf). His surviving stepchildren are Dr. Christopher Post (Dr. Yelena Mikhailova) and Leelannee Post. Jim was the grandfather of 21 grandchildren, great-grandfather to seven great-grandchildren and uncle of numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Jim’s life and faith will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1275 SW Boswell, Topeka, Kansas. Burial will follow in Mount Hope Cemetery. Mr. Ahrens will lie in state after 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday at Penwell-Gabel Mid-Town Chapel, 1321 SW 10th, Topeka, Kansas, where the family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The family requests memorials in lieu of flowers to the Ahrens Endowed Law Fund c/o Washburn University Foundation, 1729 SW MacVicar, Topeka, Kansas 66604 or the Ahrens Fund at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1275 SW Boswell, Topeka, Kansas 66604. To leave a special memory of Jim, please click the "Share Memories" button above.