Ava (Entler) Lahti, age 64, of Prior Lake, MN, formerly of Richfield, MN, passed peacefully surrounded by her family, on Friday, April 2, 2021.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, April 9 at 11 am, with a time of a gathering one-hour prior, at Ballard-Sunder Funeral and Cremation, 4565 Pleasant Street SE, Prior Lake. Masks are required. Guest may also join by live streaming and clicking on the following link Ava (Entler) Lahti Funeral Service (Meeting ID: 929 4334 9351 / Password: 783302).
On December 29, 1956, in Bronx, NY, Ava Marie was born. She was the oldest of three children of Joseph and Carolyn (Ciavolella) Entler. Ava first grew up in the Bronx. Around the age of 17, the Entler family moved to Upper Saddle River, in New Jersey. Living in the city, she and her friends had to get creative entertaining each other. As kids, they enjoyed playing at Tar Beach (an area on the roof top of their apartment building) and later the actual shores of Jones Beach. Ava attended Catholic grade school and high school.
After graduating from high school in 1974, Ava attended a community college. She completed her degree in speech and theatre at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Ava spent the next year acting in local plays, before falling into a position as an insurance agent for many years.
Through mutual friends, Ava went on a blind date and was introduced to John Lahti. By the end of the third date, they finally found something in common and secured their relationship…Ava and John both loved movies. On one of the hottest days of the summer, July 16, 1988, they exchanged wedding vows at a simple ceremony. Ava and John settled down in Richfield, where they raised their daughter, Sara. As she entered grade school, Ava took a part time position as a lunch lady and later filled in as a receptionist. This allowed her to help the community, especially the children. Ava also cut countless box tops and peeled Campbell Soup labels to help Sara’s school achieve extra equipment and supplies.
The Lahti family lived a simple life. They enjoyed spending long weekends visiting casinos in Minnesota. Sara would enjoy playing in the day care, while Ava and John would try their luck. The family also liked watching movies and eating popcorn in the theater and at home. Summers were spent swimming at the municipal pool too. In Ava’s spare time, she loved needlepointing and reading books, especially the Sue Grafton series, Skye O’Malley and the Nancy Drew collection. She found the greatest joy playing bingo at the local churches and establishments. Ava was also proud of her Italian heritage and known for her one-liners.
On November 8, 2007, Ava suffered a massive stroke. In a split second, changed her and the family’s life forever. John and Sara became her caregivers. Unable to speak, Ava created her own language and gestures to still be able to communicate with her family. Ava continued to enjoy watching movies and TV shows, looking at magazines, putting together puzzles and tolerating John’s cooking. Her love for shopping also continued. She spent countless hours paging through catalogs finding that perfect gift for people. After 30 years of calling Richfield their home, Ava and John moved to Prior Lake in October of 2018.
Ava was strong willed and never took no for an answer. She leaves behind her husband, John Lahti; daughter, Sara (Jacob Mee) Lahti; mother, Carolyn Entler; siblings, Joseph “Gus” Entler, Regina Eid; and other relatives. She is preceded in death by her father, Joseph.Print Obituary & Condolences