Sylvia Harley Ahr, a lifelong San Antonian, passed away Thursday morning, February 28, 2008, from complications associated with lung cancer. She was born on February 5, 1918 in San Antonio, to Archie Young and Hattie Raymer. Having been a bookkeeper for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle shop on Romana Plaza, Hattie chose the name Harley due to her fondness for the bikes. She was an avid rider, owning several motors and belonging to a formal riding club. Sylvia Harley Young attended Brackenridge High School and worked at the Cherry Blossom Cake Shop on Broadway in Alamo Heights prior to WWII. On September 22, 1939, she married Chester L. Ahr, also of San Antonio, to whom she was introduced by her cousin, Victor Raymer. During WWII, she had the distinction of being one of only two women to work as radial engine aircraft mechanics doing complete engine overhauls on the test block at Kelly Field. She was soon nicknamed Scotty and became well-respected for the quality of her work. At least one of her superiors refused to put an engine in an aircraft unless she had done the overhaul. For the rest of her life, she could listen to an engine and usually determine what parts were worn. After WWII, she studied bookkeeping and went to work at the M&S Hospital in San Antonio. She and Chester had one child, Russell Lawrence Ahr, born on August 7, 1951. Sylvia Ahr had many interests and hobbies, including ceramic art, gardening and genealogy. She was descended from Scottish, Irish and Canadian immigrants, as well as a Native American of the Cherokee Nation. She was a member of the San Antonio Genealogical Society, Castro Colonies Heritage Association and the Former Texas Ranger Association. Her name may be found listed on the Founders Wall of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., to which she contributed. She was a devoted lover of animals, raising cats and dogs throughout her life, which served as a constant source of joy for her and her family. She also was a frequent contributor to several organizations dedicated to protecting and caring for animals. She was preceded in death by her father, Archie Young; her mother, Hattie Raymer; and cousins Victor Raymer; Mabel Parr and Thelma Johnston. She is survived by her loving husband of 68 years, Chester Ahr and son Russell Ahr of San Antonio; daughter-in-law Alma Rosa Rivera Ahr of San Antonio; brother Archie Young of Westhoff, TX; sister Betty Troutman of San Antonio; cousins Dorothy Young and Joyce Pena of San Antonio; cousin Oscar Metzger of Fredericksburg, TX; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. No one who knew her has ever had a more caring and loving friend. She was the rarest of individuals who devoted her entire life to caring for other human beings, never putting her own interests ahead of her family or friends. She was an exceptional wife and mother who will be profoundly missed by her husband and son. Family members wish to express their deepest appreciation for the compassionate care provide to Sylvia Ahr during the last days of her life by VistaCare Hospice of San Antonio. SERVICE MONDAY MARCH 3, 2008 1:00 P.M. PORTER LORING CHAPEL 1101 McCULLOUGH Interment in San Fernando Cemetery #3. Sylvia Ahr requested that donations in lieu of flowers be made either to Running Strong for American Indian Youth, 2550 Huntington Avenue, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22303 or to VistaCare Hospice of San Antonio, 4242 Woodcock, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78229. You are invited to sign the guestbook at www.porterloring.com Arrangements with Porter Loring Mortuary.
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Published in Express-News on Mar. 1, 2008