John Ahern

John William Ahern

May-18-1931 - May-27-2024

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Obituary of John William Ahern

Ahern, John (Jack) William

May 18, 1931 - May 27, 2024 

So as it goes, life goes on. John (Jack) William Ahern was born in JHB South Africa in 1931. Survived by his wife of 68 years Dorothy, children Kathleen Lang (Ray) and David. Grandfather to five, and great grandfather to eight. Predeceased by his infant son Michael Stanley (1961-1963). Jack did not wear shoes to school until he was 10, and was the only one of his siblings to get a university degree at WITS (University of Johannesburg) in 1954.  In 1957, he took a leap for his career and with the choices of New Jersey or Niagara Falls (thankfully he chose Niagara! Sorry New Jersey). He then spent the next 50 odd years plying his skills as a chemical engineer in a variety of ways.  He started with dynamite and moved over to fertilizer and then medical items. He spent the bulk of his life with pulp and paper contributing his skills and imagination to cleaner processes in what was a pretty dirty business.   

He built a family, was a great provider, and by all rights spoiled his children.  In what would turn out to be prophetic, he was coerced to join the Willodell golf club in the early 1960s. While he never got that good at it, the place became a de facto babysitter and opened up the world for his children. They got to rub shoulders with the best in the world, around the world. 

He was a quiet man with a sneaky sense of humour and his favourite thing was numbers, he did maths in his head that some could not even do on a calculator.  In retirement he did all the cooking, usually making a mess that made Dorothy crazy.


“If a man tried  

to take his time on earth, 

And prove before he died, 

What one mans’ life could be worth  

Well I wonder what would happen to this world?”  (Harry Chapin) 


I look at my kids and now my grandkids and I think I might know.  Thanks Dad it has been an amazing incredible 93 years.