John Francis Ahearne, 84, died peacefully in his sleep Tuesday March 12, 2019.
He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Born and raised in New Britain, CT, he met his future wife Barbara during their senior year of high school. He obtained a BS in Engineering Physics and MS in Physics from Cornell University, and later a MA and Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years. He continued his service to this country by working as a federal employee starting with the Department of Defense, then to the Department of Energy at its formation. From there he became a Commissioner for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he served as Chairman for two years. He finished his federal career with the GAO. He continued to work in policy and science issues first as Vice President at Resources for the Future, and then Executive Director of Sigma Xi. After retiring, he worked as hard as ever with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and the University of California’s President’s Council advisory council for Los Alamos, Livermore and Berkeley Labs, as well as a board member for the Wisconsin Energy Corporation (now WEC Energy Group). He was very honored to be a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
John worked equally tirelessly in his faith community. He served as lector, Eucharistic minister, on parish boards, on steering committees, and as member of the Board of Directors of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (now defunct).
Considering all of his work, John was proudest of his children and grandchildren. Family was always a priority to him. John tried to live a life that emphasized honesty, perseverance and objectivity. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7
John is survived by his wife Barbara, five children; Tom Ahearne of Seattle, WA, Paul Ahearne of Ashville, NC, Mary Ann Ahearne-Ray of Cary, Robert Ahearne of Ayer, MA, and Patricia Ahearne-Kroll of St. Paul, MN; eleven grandchildren; two nephews, Doug Ahearne and Michael Ahearne of Houston, TX along with their mother Germaine Ahearne and Michael’s family; cousins Ona Paskus, Leonard Paskus, Mark Paskus, Alan Ahearne and their families.
A Memorial Mass will be offered at 10am, April 6th, 2019 at the Newman Catholic Student Center, 218 Pittsboro St, Chapel Hill, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Catholic Charities, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) or Sigma Xi.
The Ahearne family is under the care of Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill. Please express your online condolences by using the tab below.