Published November 23, 2018

MELROSE — Donald Joseph Ahern passed away suddenly while on vacation on November 11, 2018, while at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

Donald was a devoted husband, father, and Papa, and had been looking forward to the birth of his first great-grandchild when he died peacefully on Sunday after enjoying a beautiful day in Niagara Falls with the love of his life, Paula. He was dedicated to Paula, to whom he had been married for over 55 years. They were a true love story. He enjoyed fishing, target shooting and gardening; and relished the opportunity to teach these skills to his children and grandchildren.

He loved visiting with and talking to family and friends over a good cup of coffee, road trips and his annual vacation to Florida with Paula, Dave, and Jane. He was a protector, a patriarch, and mentor to many.

For nearly 10 years, he and his brother Jack co-owned and operated Aquatic Design in Melrose, a tropical fish and small pet store which was known primarily for a large fish, “Oscar,” and a talking parrot, “Jerry,” who were often visited by children on their way home from school.

He was a devoted Catholic, dedicated to St. Jude and praying the Rosary daily. He loved New England Patriots football, photography, and Paula’s cooking, especially her desserts. He loved a good laugh.

Nothing made Donald prouder than being a father and grandfather. He cherished being with his family above all else and will be missed and remembered by each one.

He was the beloved husband of over 55 years to Paula A. (Guthro) Ahern. Loving father of Dawn Marie Dionne and her husband John of Billerica, Michael Jude Ahern of N.Y. and Christine Paula Glynn and her husband Sean of Billerica. He was the cherished grandfather of Michael J. Ahern Jr. of Maine, Johnpaul, Rachael, Connor, Paige, Ava Glynn, Annabelle Dionne and Daniel Dionne all of Billerica, Jennifer Ahern, Zachary Ahern, and James Ahern of N.Y. Caring brother of Fran and Paul Demenkow of North Reading, Jack and Evelyn Ahern of Byfield, Judy Sousa of Salem, N.H., Joan and Rich Goodwin of Wakefield and Tom and Anne Ahern of Melrose. Son-in-law of the late Paul and Patricia Guthro. Also survived by many other brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Visitation was held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 W. Foster St. Melrose on Sunday, November 18. Funeral procession was from Gately Funeral Home on Monday morning, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary’s Church, Herbert St. Melrose. Relatives and friends were respectfully invited to attend. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Donald’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Lane, Memphis, TN 38105 or at To send a message of condolence please visit