Mary Jo AhernFebruary 29, 1944 ~ January 4, 2018 (age 73)
Mary Jo Ahern, who passed away on January 4, 2018, was born on February 29 in the Leap Year of 1944. She was the 2nd of eight children born to Colonel Joseph P. Ahern and his wife, Mary Elizabeth. Her father was in the US Army and was stationed in Europe, so many of her early years were spent living abroad in France and Germany. Over the course of her adult life, Mary Jo lived in Manhattan, Dublin, Charlestown, and Lincoln, Massachusetts, and since 1988, Nambe, New Mexico.
Professionally, Mary Jo was a psychologist, and practiced therapy in both Boston, Massachusetts, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. When she worked with people to help them find their own meanings and direction in life, she was in her element. She worked for the Commission for the Blind in New England, she ran therapy groups, and she had a thriving private practice for many years before retiring.
She had a passion for art, and filled all of her living spaces with beauty, always making sure everything was just right, savoring every detail. She loved plants, and when she lived in a tiny closet of an apartment in Manhattan, she and her roommates would take their houseplants for walks to the park so they could get more sunlight. Her love of plants and gardens culminated in the care she put into her Nambe property, purchased thirty years ago from famous dancer Jacques Cartier. As a friend recently said: “For Mary Jo each plant and tree on her land spoke to her in a special octave, heard in the winds of springtime and in the stillness of the land covered by snow in the winter months. She understood the leaves, grass and view as a meditation and prayer.” She was passionate about her beloved dogs, her tulips and geraniums and cherished trees, her favorite foods and flavors, her books, her beautiful, graceful scarves and shawls and dresses bursting with color, and the lovely, welcoming habitats she created wherever she chose to settle. Even the light around her and the air she breathed were never taken for granted.
Her greatest passion was for her loved ones. She was born to mother, and unlike most, she didn’t wait for adulthood. Before she reached the age of reason, there were babies to tend, and she eagerly stepped up to the plate. She had her hands full with six younger siblings, and she was devoted to them. “Mother’s Little Helper” didn’t do it justice. Her brother Joseph says, “She steadied the rocky seas of our youth.” Even after leaving for college and graduate school, she returned home often to visit her brothers and sisters, playing the piano, cooking fancy French cakes, and reciting poetry. Her love of words and reading was a gift she shared with everyone who knew her. As an adult, her love and devotion continued as she offered true sisterhood to all. As a friend, a confidante, a godmother, and aunt, she was always generous with her time and attention.
Mary Jo and her former husband, Pierre Seronde, raised two children who have grown up to reflect the love and drive she instilled in them. Joa Ahern-Seronde is a psychologist who specializes in working with children and families, and David Ahern-Seronde is the head of Research & Development at Santa Fe Brewing Company. Both are passionate and artistically inclined, and Mary Jo had art created by each of them hanging in her home. Mary Jo often spoke of her children as being her greatest accomplishments. Her pleasure and pride and devotion to them were boundless. The strength and tenderness of her love for her children was beautiful to behold.
Mary Jo earned a very special place in the hearts of her loved ones. In addition to Joa and David, she leaves behind her son-in-law Robert de Brujin, her former husband Pierre Seronde, her beloved Belgian Shepherds Reko and Ronan, her sisters Kathleen Shattuck, Rosemary Gray, and Therese Colby, her brothers Michael Ahern and Joseph Ahern, her goddaughter, Michaela Knox, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, her brother Richard and her sister Caryl.