Deceased April 13, 2019
“Curious to the end,” asserts Jim Ahearn’s wife, Mary Ann—just what you would expect a distinguished journalist to be, and not only curious, but also meticulous. Jim began his 54-year career as a journalist in New Jersey in 1959 as a wire service reporter for United Press, covering state politics in Trenton. Two years later he settled in for the rest of his career with the Record in Bergen County, N.J., first by running the newspaper’s new full-time office in Trenton and then through a series of positions in the main office. Beginning there as an editorial writer, he became an editor (with varying defining titles) and columnist.
Recognized for his journalistic stature, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard in 1970. The family moved to nearby Newton, Mass., for what turned out to be a most pleasant and productive year for the whole family. Jim used the time to study issues relating to his interests in urban and suburban affairs. Another honor came in 1985, when he served on the Pulitzer Prize screening jury.
Jim Ahearn prepared for Amherst at William Hall High School in West Hartford, Conn.; joined Phi Delta Theta; majored in history; and ran cross-country and track. To the substantial benefit of our class and the College, Jim was chairman of our 1953 Olio and editor of our 50th reunion book. He also served as class president, associate agent for the Amherst Fund and member of the Executive Committee of Alumni Council. Class members will remember Jim as pleasantly low-key in manner and admirably high-key for being competent and genuine.
Jim died on April 13, and leaves his wife of 64 years, Mary Ann; son Michael; and daughters Molly, Sarah and Margaret.
George Edmonds ’53, with assistance from Mary Ann Ahearn