Rodger Ahern, Jr.

Obituary of Rodger J. Ahern, Jr.

After years of struggling with mental health and substance use, Rory (Rodger) Ahern lost his battle at 29 years old. While his illness often took the forefront of conversations, we want to remember him as the dynamic and hysterical young man that he was while on this earth. His passion for fishing began at three years old and filled him with immense joy throughout his life. His last few months working as a commercial scallop fisherman on The Atlantic Warrior brought him the most happiness he’s experienced in years, thanks to a kind and supportive group of fisherman who encouraged him to set goals and envision a bright future. Rory had a beautiful heart and was always willing to help others without judgement, particularly because he understood how it felt to be judged and isolated. Humor was truly his best quality - even in the darkest moments, Rory had us roaring with laughter. He knew how to laugh at himself and taught us that we don’t have to take ourselves so seriously. We believe that Rory’s life and challenges have immense purpose. As a result of struggling to access appropriate resources for over a decade, he allowed his mother to share his story while advocating for policies and legislation including the Overdose Prevention Act and Expungement for Drug Court participants who complete/graduate drug court. His and his family’s experiences helped to fuel the rise of the peer movement and statewide family support programs for the parents, siblings and loved ones of people who struggle with Substance Use Disorder. He would tease his mother that he was the teacher and would take credit for her advocacy work. Rory often felt trapped in a broken system that kept him from his passion for commercial fishing, his dream of starring on The Deadliest Catch, and of being part of his healed and healthy family. It was hard not to feel invisible in a system that cycled him through multiple mandated treatments, failing to acknowledge his humanity. He always believed that one day the court and treatment systems would understand that recovery was much more than abstinence. Rory always wanted to be respected, loved and worthy. We believe that sharing openly about the challenges he was presented with,simply because he was a young man with a mental health diagnosis will perhaps show others that humans deserve compassion and empathy. He is survived by his parents, Tonia and Rory Ahern; his siblings, Tara, Ryan (Claudia), Zach (Carly), and Meagan; his beautiful niece Westley; his grandmother Rose Marie Groves; aunts, uncles, and cousins around the globe (including Ireland), who always supported and loved him unconditionally. He appreciated the loyalty of his friends, who knew his heart and appreciated his humor. A Service of Memory and Love will be offered Friday, July 16th at 12 o'clock noon from The Godfrey Funeral Home of Palermo, 644 South Shore Road, Palermo, NJ where friends may call from ten o'clock until the time of service. Burial is private. For those unable to attend, the service will be livestreamed on Rory's webpage on the funeral home website. Memorial contributions are suggested to Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc., 673 Morris Ave. Suite 100, Springfield NJ 07081. For condolences to the family, visit www.godfreyfuneralhome.com. May your lines always be tight ... “Sleep well, good night” The Perfect Storm
Friday
16
July

Memorial Visitation at Funeral Home

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, July 16, 2021
The Godfrey Funeral Home Of Palermo
644 South Shore Road
Palermo, New Jersey, United States
Friday
16
July

Memorial Service

12:00 pm
Friday, July 16, 2021
The Godfrey Funeral Home Of Palermo
644 South Shore Road
Palermo, New Jersey, United States
Share Your Memory of
Rodger