|Birth: ||Feb. 17, 1917|
New Hampshire, USA
|Death: ||Jul. 24, 2011|
Joseph Patrick Ahern was the oldest of five children born to Anna and Patrick Ahern. He was born in Manchester, New Hampshire on 7 February 1917. He graduated from St. Joseph High School where he was class valedictorian and captain of the baseball team. In 1937, after two years at St Anselm College, he received an appointment to West Point. At the Academy, he never let studies interfere with his love of baseball. He was the varsity catcher for three years, winning three Major "A"s and two Navy stars. In 1939, he played in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the game of baseball by the then West Point Cadet Abner Doubleday. After graduation from West Point in 1941, he spent a year at Harvard and MIT in the electronics laboratories. In June 1942, Joe married Mary Elizabeth Dooner of New York. Following the wedding in Rhinebeck, New York, the couple was feted at the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park on the banks of the Hudson River. Ultimately, they had eight children - all born during Joe's Army career. In the years to come, nineteen grandchildren and great grandchildren would be added to the roster.
During World War II, Joe was the Division Signal Officer of the 17th and 82nd Airborne Divisions. In the airborne crossing of the Rhine in Germany, he earned a battlefield promotion to lieutenant colonel. He also met an Army nurse, Lt Pearl Fadoir, of the 135th Army Evac Hospital who was caring for some of his soldiers. After a post-war assignment in Germany, Joe graduated from Harvard Business School and was assigned to the Army general staff. At that time the Hoover Commission had issued a report critical of the management of the Army logistical facilities. In response, the Deputy Chief of Staff established a Task Force made up of consultants from Business Schools, the seven major accounting firms in the United States and the seven Technical Services of the Army. The mission of the task force was to develop and install a Command and Control system for the management of the Army Depot complex. Joe was appointed chairman of this unwieldy task force. After two years, he succeeded in developing and installing the Army Depot Command Management System throughout the Army. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for this accomplishment. After graduating from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1958, Joe had another three year tour in Europe followed by assignment to the Office of the Secretary of the Army. In 1962, facing the prospect of financing college education for eight children and with Mary in failing health, he applied for retirement to begin a career in the private sector. He became President of Spence Engineering Company in Walden, NY during the following, twenty-five years he rebuilt and modernized this old company and restored it to its industry leading preeminence. In Walden he was active in many government, business, and charitable programs. As a member of the Orange County Park Commission, protected land was extended and an 18th century farm was purchased and brought back as a living museum. Joe spearheaded the establishment of the local ambulance corps and the town's first daycare center. When he retired in 1987, he received a number of citations and awards, including Orange County proclaiming December 1st, "Joe Ahern Day". Retiring a second time, Mary and Joe settled in Florida. The prospects of a carefree retirement were marred by Mary's deteriorating health. After 54 years of a happy and adventurous marriage, Mary died in 1996. Several years later, remembering the Nurse who cared for his soldiers during the airborne crossing of the Rhine in 1945. Joe searched and finally found Pearl living in Texas, having retired from the Air Force as a Colonel in the Nurse Corps. Pearl and Joe were married in 2003. Living in San Antonio, they enjoyed life sharing a combined family of many children and grandchildren too numerous to count. Joe passed away at Brooks Army Medical Center on July 24, 2011 after a courageous battle with heart disease. He is survived by his wife, his children, and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial Mass will be held in the chapel ant Villa San Antonio, 8103 North Hollow, San Antonio, TX at 11 am on Wednesday, July 27th. Another Mass will be held at St. Mathews Parish in San Antonio at a date to be determined. Funeral will take place in the Catholic Chapel at West Point Military Academy followed by burial in the West Point Cemetery, also at a date to be determined.
From: Mission Park Funeral Home North Obituary
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
New York, USA
Created by: Emory Schnuriger
Record added: Jul 26, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 73996127