Sept. 6, 1936 – June 10, 2014
Thomas J. Ahern, Ph.D., of Getzville, a former Town of Amherst supervisor and longtime area educator, died June 10. He was 77.
Dr. Ahern earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University at Buffalo.
He was principal at Williamsville South High School from 1979 until his retirement in 1991 and then became head of the education department at Daemen College.
He served as Amherst supervisor from 1994 to May 1996, stepping down due to a health condition.
Mr. Ahern also taught in the Buffalo school system and at Maple Elementary School. He was assistant principal at Academy Elementary School and principal at Maple East Elementary School.
“He had a Ph.D., but he accepted everybody,” said Kevin Lester, whom Dr. Ahern hired as a physical education teacher at Maple East Elementary in 1971.
They worked together for about 20 years and became close friends.
“As a principal, when he walked around the halls, he asked kids how their families were doing,” Lester said.
“He was sincere and not just trying to make small talk. He had a special place in his heart for troubled kids. He was a sensitive and caring man,” Lester added.
Dr. Ahern took on several community responsibilities. He served on the Amherst Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, vice chairman of the board of Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, president of the Amherst Public Library’s board of trustees and a board member and president of the North Forest Civic Association.
“He was a type of guy that could walk into a meeting and not know anything about the meeting and within minutes figure out all of the problems they were working out,” Lester said. “He could adapt to anything – any person, any conversation and any situation. He just had a wonderful sense of humor and could find something funny in the toughest situation.”
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Joan D. Miller; two sons, Thomas Jr. and Michael; five daughters, Annie Glaub, Maureen Kelly, Colleen Kelley, Lisa Lewis and Beth Kinerk; 15 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered June 13 in St. Mary Catholic Church, Swormville.