Joan Elizabeth Ahlstrom, 81, of Kingston, NY, died in a car accident on Monday, April 2, 2018. She was born in the Bronx, New York, on July 30, 1936, to Harold and Florence (Carlson) Johnson. A graduate of Hunter College, Joan was an early childhood education teacher in the Bronx. As a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in the Bronx, she taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was a member of the Augustana Lutheran Church Women. On November 23, 1963, she married Albert R. Ahlstrom, then pastor of Messiah. In 1970, they moved to Manhattan, where Al served as Lutheran campus pastor at Columbia University and director of Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education in New York City. During their 19 years there, Joan welcomed hundreds of students from Columbia and Barnard for open houses and Sunday worship at the university chapel. The Ahlstroms moved to Kingston, NY, in 1989 when Al became the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church.
Joan and Al have been avid travelers, cruising to Europe, South America, Australia, and the Caribbean, and along the inland waterways of the United States. Joan was a seamstress, gardener, and crafter, building her reputation on the dolls' clothes she made for the Cabbage Patch Kids in the 1980s and the American Girl dolls in the 2000s. For the past twenty years, she knitted, crocheted, and sewed numerous projects to sell at the annual Holiday Sale at Redeemer.
Joan is survived by her husband of 54 years, retired pastor Al Ahlstrom; daughters Justine Ahlstrom of the Bronx, NY, and Charissa Ahlstrom and her spouse Georgia Hall of Hopkinton, MA; grandchildren Kyle, Jordyn, and Tory; a sister Lois Johnson of New City, NY; nephews Gordon Ahlstrom of New Hampshire and Alan Ahlstrom and his wife Elaine Grant of Rhode Island, and a niece, Cahla Ahlstrom of Massachusetts; and cousins Robert Salera and his wife Renee of Florida, and James Salera and his wife Alberta of New York. Joan is predeceased by her parents, Harold and Florence Johnson; a cousin, Janice Salera; and nephews Steven Ahlstrom and William Allen.
The funeral will be held at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kingston, NY, on Saturday, April 28, 2018, with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m., morning coffee and remembrances at 10 a.m., and the service at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Redeemer Lutheran Church, the Heart Association, Bread for the World, or the Kingston Library's new fence project.
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I have several fond memories of my cousin Joan. Besides being a teacher, she had many talents such as sewing, knitting, cooking and always shared her talents with others making unique tissue box covers and holiday cards. I always looked forward to her most delicious blueberry muffins she made on our visits over the summer. She was a beautiful person inside and out and will be sorely missed. With deepest sympathy, Doreen Salera xo
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