Don Joseph (D.J.) Ahrens

August 25, 1959 - March 30, 2024


Obituary For Don Joseph (D.J.) Ahrens

Don Joseph (D.J.) Ahrens died of cardiac arrest on March 30th at UW Hospital & Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. He was 64 years old.

D.J. was born August 25, 1959, in San Diego, California to Peter and Margo Ahrens. He attended Edgewood grade school, graduated high school at the Abbey School in Canon City, Colorado and went on to study at the University of Wisconsin (Madison). He finished his education by graduating from the Northwood Institute in Midland, Michigan specializing in Business Management.

Growing up in a car family, D.J. worked summers and holidays at Ahrens Cadillac Oldsmobile dealership in Madison, Wisconsin. Learning the business from the ground up, and performing a multitude of different tasks, he began as a “Lot Boy” to working in the Parts Department, Service Department and Body Shop creating a well-rounded overview of a car dealership.

In 1993 D.J. began his career at Ahrens Cadillac and Oldsmobile in earnest, eventually being named General Manager and ran it successfully until its sale in 2002. D.J. was well liked and respected by his employees, something he was very proud of.

D.J. was also very proud of his two daughters, Alexandria (25) and Anna (22) from his previous marriage to Stephanie Hahn Ahrens.

D.J. loved spending time with his beloved dog, Stella. Throughout his life he was active in boating, playing golf and keeping a close eye on the weather and sports channel. He was also active in private charities and, thru his kind heart and loyalty to his friends and family, he privately helped many people during his lifetime without drawing attention to himself.

He was preceded in death by his brother Justin (Jake) Ahrens and his parents. He is survived by his daughters Alexandria (Fiancé, Kodi Gissible) and Anna, his brothers and sisters Caty, Peter, Amanda (Bruce) Meier, Matthew (Deborah) Ahrens and brother Adam (Rose Reyes). Further survived by his partner Suzanne Welles and her children Sydney and Trenton Fitch.

A private service will be held in the near future. For more information, please contact one of the above-mentioned.

To view and sign this guestbook, please visit:

Ryan Funeral Home & Cremation Services

5701 Odana Road


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  • April 11, 2024

    Our sympathies to the entire family for this loss. The Schmidt family has had a long standing professional and friendship relationship for many years. DJ was a very loyal friend, dedicated businessman and like a brother to us. May you rest in peace our friend. We will miss you! John & Jodie Schmidt, Mike & Kelly Schmidt - and all of us at Schmidt's Auto Inc & Green Cab (previously) .

  • April 10, 2024

    My heartfelt sympathies to the Ahrens family. I have fond memories of my employment with the former dealership. DJ had a warm and kind disposition and was raised by a great team, Peter and Margo. May God comfort you all during this difficult time. Linda Davis-Brown

  • April 08, 2024

    RIP DJ. It was a good run. Our deepest condolences to all the Ahrens family. Gary and Kathy Harper

  • April 08, 2024

    From ice skating at Westmorland park, EHS & class reunions..D.J filled the world with fun..he was incredibly charismatic..his smile, infectious. He was a shooting star, burning brightly..when I see one.. I'll remember him. Love & Aloha to his family.

  • April 08, 2024

    My condolences to everyone affected by DJ's passing on to a better place. I knew him from Edgewood High and fondly remember his friendly, happy, loving nature.

  • April 08, 2024

    My sincerest condolences and wishes to DJ's family. I only knew him in High School at Edgewood but have very fond memories of riding in one of his Cadillac Sevilles. It was the coolest car at the time and I'd still like to own one. He was a great guy, super down to earth and fun to hang out with. Life is too short!

  • April 08, 2024

    DJ used to come to the And shows all the time. A kind, thoughtful, fun person. This is very sad and I feel lucky to have been around him. Will cherish those memories. Katy Sticha

  • April 08, 2024

    My condolences and sympathies to all the Ahrens family

  • April 07, 2024

    RIP DJ thoughts and prayers to your family Had a great time at Ahrens family

  • April 07, 2024

    I just learned the news of DJ's passing. He was one of a kind, his smile, his humor and his friendship through the many years we worked together at the Kollege Klug. Fly high with the Angels 🙏❤️

  • April 07, 2024

    Great memories at Ahrens Cadillac you were the greatest boss ever !!

  • April 07, 2024

    My Boss, My close friend. The reason I am today still in the automotive industry. You will be greatly missed. JJ

  • April 07, 2024

    He was a great next door neighbor for many years—almost always in the presence of his much beloved Stella. He will be missed! His smile, his sense of humor, his concern for people, and his neighborhood all made him a person to be remembered. Rest in peace my friend. Sam DiMaggio

  • April 06, 2024

    Wow. I'm so sorry to hear about DJ's passing. I was lucky enough to work at Ahrens for several years. It was an incredible & really special place to work.

  • April 06, 2024

    I am so upset reading this. I was an employee and friend of DJ and many of the Ahrens family. My heart is broken for all of you. I owe DJ so much gratitude for major events in my life. I am thankful I was able to tell him that in person over the years. He loved his work family so much. I will always be thankful for the 10 years spent - all the years and laughter we shared. To his girls, your Dad loves you so very much. Sally (Wood) Abdella 941-587-0407

  • April 06, 2024

    Our condolences from the Wenkman family. I enjoyed knowing DJ and the pleasure of hanging out and having fun with him! We spent many days just talking in his office and yes buying some cool Cadillacs too, and of course the most memorable times are the days just kicking back laying on the back of our boats, anchored out, absorbing the "rays". I don't know that I can remember DJ without having a tan lol. One other thing I'll never forget, is that he gave me my first set of golf clubs (a hammy down of his own set) when I was a young man. Who would know today I'm lucky to have a house at Bishops Bay CC (golf club) often golfing thanks to him introducing me to the game! He will be missed, but never gone in memories..... Bill Wenkman.

  • April 06, 2024

    Our sympathies to the entire Ahrens family. DJ was a kind and fun man to know. We have many fond memories of DJ and our time working at one of the finest dealerships ever. Dave Marks and Kathy Cruice

  • April 06, 2024

    Cool guy . Remembered him well in my humble beginnings . Sorry for your loss rest in peace DJ

  • April 06, 2024

    My condolences to the entire Ahrens Family. Having met DJ while we were freshmen at Edgewood and now thinking of his passing should make us all realize how precious and short life is. T. Roach

  • April 05, 2024

    So sorry for this huge loss. DJ was a great friend and will be missed. Suzy and Stella you are loved!

  • April 04, 2024

    My sympathies to Caty, Mandy, and the entire Ahrens family.

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what our families say

Tiffany Foster went out of her way to fulfill all my requests, talked me through problems I was facing, and tried to make me feel as comfortable as possible when I was a wreck, totally crushed, and I thank her with all of my heart for that.

James S. | July 2020

The professional manner of the staff made a difficult time a little easier.

Lynda R. | July 2020

Services provided for both parents were perfect, on time, and no issues. Brenda is awesome and strong!

Michael M. | July 2020

Skyler was absolutely amazing. She was so caring and helpful through this whole process. She even went above and beyond to meet with us in DeForest and even to make a stop at our home to drop off or pick up anything needed. While it was a small gesture, it was so helpful and greatly appreciated.

Brooke S. | Dec. 2020

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