Jack was born on June 21, 1928 to Leonard T. Ahlen and Helen Olsen Ahlen in Madison, Wisconsin. They returned to Denmark in 1932 as there were no jobs due to the depression, but came back to the States in 1935. He graduated from high school in 1946, and completed his Master's degree in Geology from the University of Wisconsin in 1952. He married Marilyn Petrie in 1951. He was hired by Gulf Oil in 1952 and moved to Fort Worth, TX to work as an exploration geologist. In 1954 he was transferred by Gulf Oil to Roswell, NM to continue his oil exploration.
In the spring of 1973 he left Gulf Oil to become an independent exploration geologist specializing in the Permian Basin in Southeast New Mexico. His oil and gas field discoveries include the Triple X Delaware Sand, the Shoe Bar Atoka Morrow, White Ranch Mississippian, West White Ranch Mississippian, Trinity Wolfcamp, Tower San Andres, Bullseye San Andres, Pecos Slope Abo SE Extension for Depo, Mescalero Sands Mississippian, Tule Montoya Pennsylvanian, Bagley Abo Wolfcamp Atoka; and extensions of Buffalo Valley Atoka, Pecos Slope Abo NE Extension for Depo, and Sam's Ranch.
Major General Ahlen served in the US Army Reserve from 1950 until his retirement as a Colonel in 1970. He served in the New Mexico State Defense Force from 1973 until he retired as Commanding General in July of 1995. He was a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Independent Earth Scientists, the New Mexico Geological Society, and the Roswell Geological Society of which he was president for three terms.
He was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer Scout Leader, a member of Toastmasters, a Roswell Symphony Guild member, a member of Military Officers Association of America, and a Lay Speaker at Trinity United Methodist Church, where he served as president of the Administrative Board several times. He is survived by his wife Onita Barkley King Ahlen and his children Dawn (Robert) Ahlen Willis, Connie (Don) Ahlen Boyer, Jon Ahlen, Amy (Ralph) Ahlen DePauw, and Eric and Pat [Serna] Ahlen. Grandchildren are Jeffery Ahlen, Ward Ahlen Willis, Heike Ahlen Wright, Marc Ahlen, Kelly Boyer, Robin Boyer Rowley, Ben DePauw, Kathleen DePauw Parish, Nick Ahlen, Duncan Ahlen, and Ian Ahlen. There are also nine great grandchildren. Jack's brother Karl's children are Lennie [Lori] Ahlen, Chris Ahlen Anderson and Julie Ahlen Zuckerman.
Jack L. Ahlen entered into heaven June 8, 2016 and was welcomed with loving arms by Jesus, his family and friends. He was predeceased by his parents, his infant sister, his brother Karl, and Marilyn Petrie Ahlen, his wife of sixty-two years.
Jack was a kind and generous man who was respected and admired by his family, in the community and in his professions. Our family and others went to him for answers to difficult questions such as what kind of rock is this? or what is right? or what can I do to help?
The obituary was lovingly written by the family.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to Chaves County Cancer Fund, PO Box 193 Roswell, NM 88202-0193; Trinity United Methodist Church, 1413 S Union Ave, Roswell, NM 88203; Wounded Warrior Program, https://support.woundedwarriorproject.org; or a charity of your choice.