Margaret Ahrens always believed in commitment.

"She never missed a day of work and she always stressed that if we had a job, that we should go do it and never find a reason not to work," said her son, Richard, 74, who lives in Spring Brook, Pa.

Ahrens, who supported her five children by working double shifts at the New York Telephone Co. (now Verizon) and was a Hempstead resident, died Thursday from a brain hemorrhage that happened after she fell in her home. She was 99.

While working at the telephone company as a young woman, Ahrens kept it a secret from her employers that she had children, family members said, because back then she thought the company didn't like to hire housewives.

Evelyn Dombrowski, 69, of Levittown, one of Ahrens' daughters, said her mother worked under her maiden name, Wren, while at the telephone company.

Ahrens, who was born on April 18, 1911, in Manhattan, always stressed that a family should be a tight-knit unit.

"She never tolerated any family arguments," Richard Ahrens said.

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Richard Ahrens said that his mother should have written a book about her life. "World War I, World War II, the Hindenburg, she lived through it all," he said.

Ahrens' husband William and one son, Richard, had died before her. In addition to Richard Ahrens and Evelyn Dombrowski, Margaret Ahrens is also survived by two daughters, Barbara Von Bartheld and Rita Ahrens, both of Blue Point; 17 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren.

A wake will be held Sunday 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Thomas F. Dalton Funeral Home in Levittown. The funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday at 11 a.m. at St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church in Levittown. Interment will be at Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.