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Michael J. Ahearn Jr.

Norwich - Michael J. Ahearn, 83, died on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, at Norwichtown Care and Rehab Center.

He was born in Norwich, on July 12, 1929, to the late Michael J. and Gertrude (Snook) Ahearn, the youngest of six children. Michael left high school to join the army at the end of World War II and was stationed in Alaska. He returned to graduate from Norwich Free Academy. He moved to New York City to become an actor and met his wife of 23 years, Judy Bonnallie. As a family man, he launched his career in the newspaper business, landing a job at the Hartford Courant, then moving back to Norwich to work as a reporter at the Norwich Bulletin and finally, working as an editor at The New London Day, retiring in 1994.

Mike was kind and charming and had a great, corny sense of humor. He loved walking in the woods, dogs and playing with his grandchildren.

Stanley DeCoster of Salem, a friend and former colleague of Michael at The Day, said: He was an avid golfer for much of his life and here, as in other areas, he had some original thoughts. He always said golf courses should be 14 holes instead of 18 because he used to become tired and his game suffered over the last four holes. There should be a front seven and a back seven, he would say. Always upbeat, Mike would console a red-faced, frustrated golfer who hit a dribbler off the tee. "At least you're out there," he said, without a tinge of sarcasm.

Michael Bagwell of Niantic, also a former Day employee and friend of Michael's, noted that Michael's career spanned a revolution in the newspaper business when it went from reporters using manual typewriters to the computers of today. "I never knew Michael to say an unkind word about anyone," Bagwell said. "He was greatly loved and respected."

Michael is survived by his daughter, Beth Ahearn and her husband, Chris O'Neil, of Freeport, Maine; his son, Michael J. Ahearn III and his wife, Tina; his ex-wife, Judy Ahearn; and grandchildren, Kelsey, Madison and Michael J. Ahearn, and Connor and Katelyn O'Neil.

Michael is predeceased by his son, William; and his girlfriend, Connie Moor.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24, at Church and Allen Funeral Home, 136 Sachem St., Norwich. A calling hour will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Burial will follow the service at Maplewood Cemetery in Norwich.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the , http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp

To leave a condolence, please visit www.churchandallen.com

Published in The Day on Aug. 23, 2012
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