Gilbert - Margaret Arlene Ahern was born in Brookings, South Dakota on July 2, 1929. She was raised in Aurora, SD in a family of seven kids. Times were difficult during the Depression, so she left home and went to work at age 14 in Brookings as the housekeeper to a family that provided her lodging in exchange for work so she could finish high school. She met the love of her life, Donald Ahern, at a popular dance hall called Danceland after he returned from military service. They were married just a few months later on March 30, 1948 and stayed married almost 53 years. She converted to Catholicism, joined Catholic Daughters of America and spent countless hours volunteering at church over the decades before she became too disabled. Donald and Margaret raised their four children on the farm. She also raised a large flower and vegetable garden. In addition she canned, sewed and was the best cook. Family and faith were her two favorites things in life. They loved to dress up and attend the annual Mardi Gras party with their friends every year, even getting honored as King and Queen one year. She and her husband moved to sunny Arizona in 1982 to begin another chapter in their lives when they retired from farming. She worked at Dillard's for 10 years before officially retiring and moving to Sunland Village East to golf and have fun. In 2001, after her husband, Donald passed away, she learned to play Bridge, sometimes playing 3-4 times a week. She often volunteered as a substitute for other Bridge groups in her area. She was really looking forward to her 90th birthday where she could golf for free at Sunland Village East Golf Course, but her disease progressed more rapidly than the calendar. She was a loved by everyone who met her. Her quick wit, positive attitude, love of family and friends helped hold her together and socialize right up until the end. In 2018, she was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), similar to Lou Gehrig's disease. She died peacefully in her sleep with her children around her on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. She is preceded in death by her husband, Donald, one son, Brian, and 6 siblings. Survivors include two sons, Mark, Mesa, AZ, Paul & wife Lesley, Chandler, AZ, daughter Cherylnn, Gilbert, AZ, 10 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. Funeral Services for Margaret A. Ahern, 90, will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Mesa AZ at 11:00 AM on Friday, July 10, 2020. Wake/visitation will be held Friday, July 10, 2020 at Queen of Heaven Cemetery from 5-6:00 PM with a tribute to Margaret from 6-7:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Hospice of the Valley or CurePSP. We understand times are difficult in the current situation we are all in with Covid-19. Therefore, we will be live streaming services on Youtube. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a link.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Jun. 30 to Jul. 5, 2020.