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REMEMBERING

WELCOME!  We've saved this page as a special place where we can talk about  Jerry and about the people he had met over the years and places he visited.  You'll also find out some things about him that were never before mentioned in print. You're all invited to share your stories about him.  Please let us know about your connection with this great guy.

 

A TRIBUTE

My skills as a writer, you'll quickly learn, aren't worth comparing; my
apologies in advance. These last few months have been eye opening and more than a little bit surreal for me. In part that this is the first time I've ever

really thought about my relationship with my dad and secondly the outpouring of
condolences from thousands of fans and friends he'd earned over the years. 

I’m writing this tribute to my dad while sitting on what will be the first of
three flights I'll be on this September 11th. There's a certain irony in this
since, as all of you who will be reading this know, my dad was one of the most
outspoken patriots of his generation. While his passing will most certainly
affect us all in our own ways he has left quite an indelible and different mark
on me.

Reflecting back over the years I realized the expression the apple doesn't fall
far from the tree was a saying never used about he and I. I may have in fact
been an orange rather than an apple when it was all said and done. Dad and I
have been on opposite sides of most everything you could possibly have an
opinion about over the years. Some of the most animated arguments and
frustrating debates I've ever been part of have been between the two of us. You
name the subject we could have a different opinion.

None of these arguments ever produced a winner, but we both thought we provided the better argument for our point of view. I'm not sure I ever really
appreciated the value of these hundreds of debates until just recently. Despite
me almost always blowing my top at some point in the argument and taking on a
dictator like tone, my dad always stayed relatively calm and let me express my
opinion, despite my interrupting and cutting him off constantly to redirect. Over
the last several years the tenor of these discussions had toned down on my part;
we still never agreed on much of anything but I grew to be much more patient and rather than blow my top I simply made a better case for my opinion.

This change on my part has served me very well out in the world; I'm not even
sure if he ever knew that his patience with me has been the cornerstone in all
of my successes. I am constantly in a state of negotiation, whether internally
or on the behalf of one of my clients. I'm pretty damn good at it too thanks to
my many debates with dad.

I'm going to close by sharing something fairly personal, which everyone who
knows me knows I never do. I've shed a tear only twice as an adult and both
times have been in this last twelve months. Once was when I had to share some
news with my four kids I didn't want to share and second was with the passing of
my dad. 

I love you dad and I miss our arguments more than you'll ever know.

 

Jason


 

 

JERRY AHERN -- A PUBLIC SPEAKER IS BORN

            .  Lindblom Technical High School was an imposing three story building that covered an entire South Side Chicago city block.  Opened in 1917 (Jerry’s mother was a member of the first graduating class) it showcased Chicago’s early stand on progressive education with its twenty-five hundred seat auditorium, huge gymnasium with an overhead running track and an indoor swimming pool, which by the way, was freezing cold for those of us with early morning swim class and had to sometimes be shared with a squirrel or an occasional rat.  By the time we were in attendance there, the building was still impressive but a little less shiny and new.  The student population was close to or exceeded that of many small towns.

            Jerry and I met on the first day of high school in 1961, our eyes meeting across a crowded room, and then we each turned and completely ignored each other.  As luck would have, it, I was assigned to home room 227A and Jerry was assigned to home room 227C.  This translated into one large classroom that was the music/choir/chorus room being transformed into the home room for three separate groups of freshmen, each with their own home room teacher.  It sounded like utter chaos and it usually was -- until Jerry was given the task of reading the day’s announcements.

 Jerry had a voice that could carry across a football field.  He was well spoken and loved to take charge which was a trait that served him well in both high school and college ROTC and equally as well at public speaking engagements throughout his life.  He would stand at the podium, look straight ahead and wait either until we had quieted down on our own or he suggested in his inimitable way, that it might be a good thing to do.  Then he would read the announcements in a clear, loud voice.  Trivial announcements became high drama. I do believe that we were the only freshmen class, perhaps the only home room class that ever knew what was going on in school.  Good or bad, I just don’t know what kind of effect he had on the rest of the class, but I do know of one thirteen year old freshman who decided to keep her eye on Jerry Ahern for a long time.

Sharon