Dorothy Ahearn
Dorothy Ahearn

Obituary of Dorothy C. Ahearn

Dorothy C. (Carter) Ahearn of Acton and formerly of Bedford passed away on Nov. 30, 2020. She was the devoted wife of the late John M. Ahearn until he passed away from an extended illness in 1983. Beloved mother of Karen Ahearn of Acton, Michael Ahearn and his wife Sue of Lunenburg, and Ann (Ahearn) Ringwood and her husband James Daniel Ringwood, Jr. of Lowell. Beloved grandmother of Caitlin Ahearn of Portland, OR. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Born Aug. 17, 1918 in Detroit, MI, she graduated from the Cambridge School of Weston, the Colby Junior College, and the LaSalle Junior College. Her family moved to Boston where she worked as a Medical Secretary at Boston’s Children’s Hospital until WWII. She volunteered for the Red Cross during WWII serving in England and Belgium and was in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, she worked as an Art Editor at Ginn and Company, publishers of school and college textbooks. The Wayside Inn was Dorothy’s favorite gathering place for special family occasions. The family made a tradition of celebrating Christmas and George Washington’s birthday there, and also her birthdays including her 100th birthday in 2018. She was known and loved by the Wayside Inn staff. Dorothy was a devoted member of the Catholic Church and faithfully attended Mass in St. Michael’s Church in Bedford until her advanced age and poor health prevented her from going. Dorothy worked at the Bedford Free Public Library for over 20 years, where she worked in the Technical Services Department and was part of the committee formed to create the early Minuteman Library Network. Dorothy’s greatest joy in life was her family. After her retirement she found ways to participate in family activities including volunteering at the Bedford Santa program with Karen, visiting Gettysburg with Ann and Jim, and visiting granddaughter Caitlin at Ithaca College. She was devoted to her family, and always cherished family gatherings. Her 2nd greatest joy in life was visiting Cape Cod every year. She loved to walk on the beach in autumn, especially when the weather was stormy. She was strong-willed and knew when tough decisions needed to be made such as when her husband was incapacitated with health problems, she went back to work at the Bedford Free Public Library where she was known as “Good Old Mrs. Ahearn,” willingly giving up her driver’s license when she decided she could no longer drive safely, and willingly going into a nursing home after deciding that she did not want to be a burden on her family. In the nursing home, she was known as a “real lady” and a “real sweetheart.” She was confined to a wheelchair for the final few years of her life but continued whatever physical activities she could manage such as bowling and flower arranging. She always looked forward to family visits and always had a smile and a laugh to share. She retained her mental capacities right up until she succumbed to COVID-19. The family was hard-put to keep her supplied with large-print books to read. She was a life-long tennis fan and one of her favorite topics was Roger Federer. She made a point of watching his matches whenever they were on TV and always rejoiced when she got any positive news about Roger and his family. She was sent to the hospital twice in the past two years. The second time she went there she was not expected to survive – she was placed on hospice care and given Last Rites. But, true to form, she recovered and returned home to the nursing home. When finally succumbing to COVID-19, she waved a final good-bye to her family and passed into a peaceful sleep. The family extends their heartfelt thanks to the staff of Life Care Center of Acton for all the loving care they gave Dorothy. Due to COVID-19, private services were held. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Dorothy’s name to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund (https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation) or St. Michael’s Parish, 90 Concord Rd., Bedford, MA 01730.