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John Walter Ahern

John Walter Ahern Obituary
John Walter Ahern

Phoenix - John Walter Ahern slipped from his earthly tethers on September 24, 2019, much too early, at the age of 71, in his treasured adopted state, Arizona.

Ahern leaves a lasting imprint on innumerable lives whether through his thoughtful and considerate nature, kindness, generosity, quintessential humor, philanthropy, or his stealth mentoring. Among these excellent qualities, also lurked rebellious tendencies and practical jokes, with family, friends and colleagues the usual targets. And who among us did not reap the benefits of his renowned thriftiness? Ever in pursuit of "a deal," with "the close" often requiring his agile negotiating skills, Ahern always shared his bounty (coupon anyone?) with great zeal. He approached life and all it afforded with an enviable integrity, open mind, objectivity and an ability to seek and find humor in whatever situation arose, including the rare blood cancer, myelofibrosis, that cut his life short.

Ahern considered himself lucky in life: For the family in which he was raised; being accepted to the one and only university to which he applied, Santa Clara, and graduating with a marketing degree; the multitude of deep friendships made and kept for life; finding and marrying the right woman; traveling and expanding his world of wine, food, history and people behind them; being part of his nephews' lives, seeing them marry and start families; for his varied career at which he excelled and enjoyed from Disney Studios delivering mail, to coaching at All Saints Episcopal School to his banking and lending at First Federal Savings/MeraBank, Security Pacific/Bank of America, Norwest Bank/Wells Fargo and Heritage Bank.

Ahern was not defined by the work he chose, but by all the lives he touched along the way. He thrived on friendship and was truly loyal, genuine and a genuinely good human. He would attribute his "niceness" to his Midwest roots having been born in St. Louis, Missouri, November 16, 1947, the middle child of Bernard and Margaret Ahern. Many formative years were spent in Nebraska and Minnesota before relocating to Northern California in 1960. As much as Ahern appreciated his Midwest beginnings, it took just one visit to Arizona during his college years for him to know he would choose to become a desert dweller making Phoenix his home.

Ahern, as she fondly called him, is greatly loved and missed by his best friend of forty years and wife of thirty-one, Janice Decker. She knows the world was a better place with John Ahern in it.

Her sentiments are echoed by the legion of Ahern fans along with his brothers Dan (Ellen), Mike (Janis), nephews Ryan (Lisa), Shaun (Lizzi), Todd (Devyn), Patrick (Meghan), Brett (Melissa), his twelve great nieces and nephews, his 100-year-old mother-in-law, Clarice Decker, and sisters-in-law and husbands, Paris and Mike Weidner, Denise and Mike Dewey, Troy and Scott Gray

Ahern's celebration of life and funeral mass will be held Thursday, November 14, 10:30am, Our Lady of Angels Church, Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley. Interment is private.

In lieu of flowers, Ahern would ask that you kindly consider writing a check to: Santa Clara University and in memo, "Class of 1970 Walk-On Scholarship." Checks can be sent to Santa Clara University Development Office, 500 Camino El Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Nov. 7 to Nov. 11, 2019
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