James Francis Ahern of East Helena, MT passed away at 3:55 on May 8th 2019, surrounded by family. Jim suffered from COPD and complications related to a recent fall which ultimately led to his passing.
Jim was born in Chicago, Illinois on May 11th 1940 to Margaret (Mahoney) Ahern and Richard Ahern. He was one of eight children. During high school he attended the East Troy Seminary in Wisconsin, later meeting his love, Judith, inspiring him to choose a different path in life. He married Judith Ann Stepuncik on August 27, 1960, at St. Gerald’s Catholic Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois. They spent 49 years together, raising their ten children and enjoying their numerous grandchildren.
Jim’s passions included his family, the outdoors, visits to the Black Hills, and his 50-year career selling insurance independently and for several companies.
Jim was a practical joker, and he always had a joke at the ready or a story to tell (or embellish) and he was notorious for making a short story long. He could find humor in the strangest places and this trait was proudly passed on to his children and grandchildren. Jim kept his Irish heritage alive by teaching his children and grandchildren the art of constructing clever “leprechaun traps” for trapping leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. His stories of how he actually caught one once (but when he blinked it got away), kept the kids from giving up when they weren’t as lucky to catch an actual one themselves. They did always manage to find some type of green or shiny wrapper candy left in their tripped, unattended traps, however. Jim’s Irish shenanigans / stories (often said in rehearsed Irish brogue) were always in his arsenal of foolery.
Survivors of Jim include his children, Jim (Carla) Ahern of Townsend, Tim (Debbie Munson) Ahern of Helena, Daniel Ahern of Helena, Matthew Ahern of Helena, Michael (Annamaria) Ahern of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Jennifer (Vaughn) Cordell of East Helena, Margaret (Keith) Jennings of East Helena, Anne (Clay) Edinger of East Helena, Mary (Chris) Emmons of Helena, and Elizabeth (Brian) Jackson of Helena. He is also survived by his 26 grandchildren: Christopher (Samantha) Ahern and Stephanie (David) Plymale; Jacob Ahern; Jessica (Daigo) Yamamura; Bethany, Duncan, Benjamin and Isabelle Cordell; Keith, Megan, Nicholas, Paul and Faith Jennings; Shannon Roybal; Garrett Edinger; Grace, Ella, Andrew and Caleb Emmons; Joshua, Joseph, Abigail, Isaac, and Oliver Jackson; Andrew and Christian Ahern, and 4 great grandchildren: Augustus, Maverick, Eris, and Brantley. Additionally, he is survived by his sister Marylynne (Bob) Cedar, sister-in-law Mary (John) Fish, brother-in-law Mike Petrizzo, and numerous nieces, nephews and in-laws.
Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife Judy, his parents, and his siblings: Margie Stalzer, Jeannie (Fred) Bright, Richard (Marie) Ahern, John “Jackie” Ahern, Larry Ahern, and Maureen Petrizzo.
A Rosary is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at SS. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church, 120 W Riggs, East Helena, followed by a Mass at 10:30 a.m. at the church. Burial will follow the Mass at Resurrection Cemetery at 12:30 PM. A Reception will be held at the church following the burial. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Jim.
Rest in peace with your beloved family, your angel grandchildren, and your beautiful bride who all met you at Heaven's Gates. We love you, Dad!