An Obituary: Dennis J. Ahern

June 9, 2023

Beloved prankster, historian, and teller of tales Dennis J. Ahern died on April 28, 2023, at CareOne in Concord after a steady decline. His wife Lyrl was with him.

Dennis and Lyrl first moved to Bedford in 1974 and moved to Acton in 1977. He was elected to the Acton Memorial Library in 1982. They moved back to Bedford in 2017 and the following year, Dennis was elected as a Bedford Free Public Library trustee.

Dennis wrote in a reelection profile for The Bedford Citizen in 2021, “I grew up in Arlington and was a frequent visitor to the Robbins Library. My first foray into civic life was at the age of 10 when I addressed the Board of Selectmen in support of increased funding for the library. I’ve been an advocate for libraries ever since.”

After a career as a technical writer for Raytheon, RCA, and Digital, he went on the lecture tour, speaking on various historical and genealogical subjects. See for a partial list of lectures.

Dennis J. Ahern

“Dennis the Menace,” as he often signed his emails, was a movie enthusiast, a premier Irish genealogist & researcher, a penny whistle player, and a Scottish country dancer. He and Lyrl loved to attend Ferry Beach gatherings with First Parish, where Dennis could share one of his many memorized poems or songs with the crowd. Dennis could often be seen bringing a main dish to the Friday potlucks, attending church annual meetings to make quirky yet salient points, or attending memorial services in that Monty Python shirt declaring “I’m Not Dead Yet.”

John Gibbons summed him up like this: “He was a First Parish original! Beloved, smart, eccentric to the bone, the best sort of deviant, true to himself! I loved him.”

In addition to his wife Lyrl, Dennis is survived by his son, Andrew Dennis “Denny” Ahern of Waltham.

No services have been announced yet.

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