ForeverMissed
Stephen Patrick Ahearn  10/28/1957    08/23/2020

Our family's intention in creating this site is to celebrate Stephen's life as our loving brother, brother in law, uncle, friend, traveler, activist, and proud Irishman. We will be placing a formal obituary in the Arizona Republic in the near future. On this site we would like all of Stephen's family and friends to feel encouraged to contribute memories, stories, pictures, videos and music. As many of us know, Stephen was not someone whose personality, talents, interests and contributions can be easily summed up. It's our family's hope that together, and with your input, we can more fully represent the complex, generous and interesting individual we loved so much.
Stephen was born in Tucson, AZ to John Littleton Ahearn and Irene Walsh Ahearn. He grew up in Phoenix, the second oldest of six siblings, where he quickly matured into a central figure in a big family with strong Irish American roots. Stephen's first friendships and interests developed with the "Orangewood gang" and then on to Madison Meadows Elementary School where a great many lifelong friends and connections were established. 
As a young teenager Stephen assembled a remarkable collection of 60’s and early 70’s rock music - John Mayall, Moody Blues, Cream, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, Elton John - these were just some of his favorite artists that could be heard in our home during the early-to-mid 70s. We all loved his choices and still associate this music with that time in our lives. 
At Central High School he became a popular figure on campus. He played football, served in student government and discovered his love of the French language. As soon as he turned 16, he began working at Carnation Ice Cream Restaurant with many high school buddies who also  became lifelong friends.
In 1976 Stephen enrolled in Pomona College. He again developed more lifelong friends and furthered his interests in languages and international concerns. He was a fraternity member, a football player, a radio station manager and ultimately completed his bachelors degree in International Relations with a thesis written on the topic of Irish History and Politics. His exposure to 80’s music and in particular local bands exploded, and his enthusiasm for this time and especially the punk rock scene never wavered. His knowledge of the people, places and times was outstanding. It was always a welcome topic for discussion. 
Stephen's interests in Europe and international travel took root during these early college years. In his early 20s he was off traveling about Europe on a Eurail pass taking him through France, Spain, Italy and Greece. He continued on through Turkey and Egypt - it was the first of his many great adventures. As a young man Stephen made contacts easily and with an effort to learn local languages and their dialects. He did this with enthusiasm, maturity and ease -  a combination which fostered a unique ability to connect quickly with new acquaintances wherever he went. Stephen was impressive in this regard - he maintained this ability to create and revisit meaningful connections throughout his life.
After Pomona Stephen enrolled in the Graduate Business program at UCLA where he received his MBA and settled in the LA area. He lived there with friends in Highland Park, Venice Beach, Brentwood and San Pedro. He worked with Xerox for some time and moved on to become interested in more environmentally friendly pursuits. 
Arizona beckoned Stephen back to live and work in the late 1980s. In keeping with his environmental interests,  he co-founded companies that manufactured non-toxic environmentally- sensitive pesticides, building materials and recycled plastic products. In 1990 he joined the Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office as the Manager of Planning and Policy. At that time he was responsible for the implementation of the legislatively-mandated  Energy Policy. By 1994, Stephen was writing and speaking extensively about electric industry restructuring.Three years later he was hired at the Corporation Commission to advise the staff on electric industry competitive matters , and to be that agency's liaison to the legislature. In 1999 he resigned the Commission office to follow in his father's footsteps, and run for the office of Corporation Commissioner. Governor  Janet Napolitano appointed Stephen as Director of the Arizona Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO). As Director of  RUCO Stephen worked tirelessly on behalf of consumers, and to promote renewable energy and sustainability. He continued with Energy Policy concerns as a contractor until the time of his multiple myeloma diagnosis in January of 2013 at which point his life took a sudden and unexpected detour.
Throughout his life , Stephen enjoyed traveling and adventure. As an avid motorcyclist for many years he hiked, backpacked, camped, fished and explored throughout the Southwest, and extensively in California, and along the Pacific Coast. In June 2009 Stephen embarked on a motorcycle trip across the United States and into Canada visiting friends and family all along the way. Internationally, Stephen added India as a favorite destination along with Ireland and France. His love for India also enhanced his already skillful cooking, and he became quite adept at Indian cuisine.
At his home in Phoenix Stephen became a gentleman farmer growing a backyard full of beautiful vegetables, and cultivating fruit trees. However, his most successful agricultural endeavor was the nurturing of fig trees from clippings of figs from all over the world. Many family members and friends received gifts of these precious fig trees.
Stephen’s difficult and very long battle with multiple myeloma lasted 7 years, and the toll of his many therapies, surgeries and procedures was high. 2020 proved formidable with multiple hospitalizations beginning in January . No further treatments available to him, he chose to move to Tucson with family and begin hospice.
Stephen passed in peace,  deeply loved with his family around him on August 23rd.
Stephen is survived by his sisters: Mary A. Lee (Richard), Denise Ahearn, and Kathleen Johnson (Jeff) brothers: John Ahearn, and Michael Ahearn ( Patty) Nieces: Christine, Andrea, Lillie and Arbor, Nephews: Gabriel and Alejandro, and great-nephews Jonathan and Nathaniel.

Posted by Tom Dorn on September 24, 2020
To the Stephen Ahearn Family- Please accept my deepest condolences. Stephen and I worked together at the Department of Commerce in the early 1990s. We became friends during that time and kept in touch periodically over the years. We'd meet for lunch and talk for a couple hours each time. He was such a good man with a great sense of humor. He knew his politics very well and I always walked away with a new perspective on something. He was a great person and left his positive mark on Arizona. We are better place because he was here and made an impact! God bless you all during this time.
Posted by Dave Silcox on September 23, 2020
I was a teacher when Stephen was a student and athlete at Phoenix Central High and am saddened by the news of his passing at such a young age. I remember Stephen as an excellent student and being involved in many, many activities and have fond memories of him and what he did to make Central one of the best high schools in the state. His numerous achievements while at Central were never self serving and always made our school a better place. I know he will be sorely missed and my condolences to his family and friends 
Posted by Tom Solnit on September 22, 2020
To Stephen my high school buddy and Irish friend. I will miss your humor and friendship may you be at peace now.
Posted by Todd Bonime on September 22, 2020
The news of Stephen’s passing took the wind from my sails as I was so fond of him, having known him since our days at Pomona College where we were proud members of the KD fraternity, and had stayed in touch over the years primarily through Facebook. Stephen was one of the wittiest, kindest people I have ever met and someone who deeply cared about his family, his community and the environment. He was passionate in his beliefs and smart as hell. The world was a better place with Stephen in it. RIP Bro Ahearn. You were loved by many. 
Posted by Laura Hernandez on September 22, 2020
I am so very sorry for your loss. Steve was “a great guy” - kind to me when I needed him, above and beyond even if we only knew each other to say hello and share a beer or two.
Posted by Phil Amorosi on September 21, 2020
Dear Ahearn family,
I am writing because I saw Stephen’s obituary in the newspaper. I am so sorry for your loss. Stephen and I became friends around 20 years ago through meetings at the Democratic party. Then when he became Director of RUCO, I was working for the Dept. of Environmental Quality and my office was right upstairs. We would have lunch and talk about protecting the environment. He would tell me stories about his dad, who he was very proud of. Turned out we were both neighborhood activists too, so he showed me around his neighborhood, and we shared tips on similar issues that we were up against. He loved his gritty ‘hood and it showed. We didn’t see each other as much recently but I still had his number in my phone list because I knew I could always count on him as a true friend. This was sad news indeed; I will never forget him or the influence he had on my life.
Posted by Scott Mitchem on September 21, 2020
I played football with Steve at Meadows and Central. Wish
I had known him as an adult he was a fine boy and I am certain he grew to be a fine man. I am sorry for your loss
Posted by Lee Poole on September 20, 2020
I did not enjoy the opportunity to get to know Stephen well, but we both worked at the ACC at about the same time (in my case, that was 1985-2004; and my 15 minutes of fame there was as the whistle-blower vs. Tony West in 1998). No doubt his work there & elsewhere in his career was of a more lasting significance, and am sorry to have read of his passing. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Mary Ann Walsh on September 20, 2020
Stephen and I were proud Central High Bobcats together. He was always so kind, funny, and respectful to everyone. We were part of a group of friends that spent a lot of time together having lots of laughs and maybe some mischievous adventures as well.
You are a good man Stephen. Enjoy your beautiful garden in Heaven. Love, Mary Ann
Posted by James Flori on September 15, 2020
Stephen was one of my best friends since the 6th grade. He came out to visit my wife and me in Missouri just last year, one of his last trips.

I have a thousand stories about Stephen, but I'll only post this one. He was one of the best athletes at Madison Meadows and played just about every sport. I remember one intramural track meet where he was plugged into the high jump event at the last minute to replace someone who got sick. He had never competed in that event before, but on that day he not only won, he also set a new school record. Stephen was like that.
Posted by Melinda Piña on September 10, 2020
A great loss, a friend to so many. There was always something to talk about with Stephen. Fun, serious, witty, contemplative. Old times, current events, questions about the future. Remember, Rejoice, Release. 
Posted by STEPHEN NEWMARK on September 10, 2020
I spent most of my time with Stephen during his father's campaigns for the Arizona Corporation Commission in 1978 and 1980. Stephen was someone I was able to connect with immediately. He was a hail fellow well met. My most specific memory of Stephen is when we went to a campaign event in Tucson in his VW bug. This is the only time I have been in a bug. In any event, I drove back to Phoenix. We got pulled over because I apparently was weaving. Once the officers realized it was because of fatigue, not alcohol or some other stimulant, we were sent on our way. I am glad to have had the opportunity to reconnect with Stephen recently. It made me regret the time I did not spend with him in all the years before. Be well, Stephen. 
Posted by Susan Frank on September 9, 2020
I knew Steven as the big brother of my friend and the friend of my big brother. I spent much of my childhood hanging at the Ahearn house. I wish I knew Steven as an adult because it looks like we would have had a lot in common. He was blessed to have been born into an iconic and loving family. And we are all blessed to have known him. My heart goes out to you all
Posted by Kathi Carver on September 8, 2020
I only knew of Stephen through his sister Kathy. He sounded like an amazing brother. He certainly packed a lot of adventure into his life and enjoyed the world around him. He will be missed greatly.
Blessings to the family!

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Tom Dorn on September 24, 2020
To the Stephen Ahearn Family- Please accept my deepest condolences. Stephen and I worked together at the Department of Commerce in the early 1990s. We became friends during that time and kept in touch periodically over the years. We'd meet for lunch and talk for a couple hours each time. He was such a good man with a great sense of humor. He knew his politics very well and I always walked away with a new perspective on something. He was a great person and left his positive mark on Arizona. We are better place because he was here and made an impact! God bless you all during this time.
Posted by Dave Silcox on September 23, 2020
I was a teacher when Stephen was a student and athlete at Phoenix Central High and am saddened by the news of his passing at such a young age. I remember Stephen as an excellent student and being involved in many, many activities and have fond memories of him and what he did to make Central one of the best high schools in the state. His numerous achievements while at Central were never self serving and always made our school a better place. I know he will be sorely missed and my condolences to his family and friends 
Posted by Tom Solnit on September 22, 2020
To Stephen my high school buddy and Irish friend. I will miss your humor and friendship may you be at peace now.
his Life

Stephen's YouTube video playlist

Lots of great videos by Stephen!
Recent stories

POMONA KD & ADVENTURE BROTHER

Shared by Scott Chadbourne on September 27, 2020
Hi Stephen,                                                                                                                             Your early departure from this mortal earth is difficult to process.  I miss ya already.  I will no longer have the late night, post-hockey option to call and to banter.  Maybe I will just talk and you can still listen?  What I value most about you is your quite literal way of talking and means of inquiry.  Deep intellect laced with humor.  You gotta be the best 'questioner' I know.  And I have adopted that style - seeking to understand.  Thanks for this gift.                                           Our first conversation was a sunrise in the Fall 1979.  I remember distinctly because of your and other KD brothers' line of questioning and deep probing of details.  Haha.  That interesting discussion was one of hundreds between us.  And of course the stoner Boston laughing fit that caused a car accident.  The similar Tombstone visit a few years back...good Wyatt Earp impression!  I am sad we will not make it to the AZ airplane boneyard for some camping.  That would have been hauntingly fun and maybe an opportunity for chemical assistance.                  I am glad you have such a close, loving family.  Big love there.  Sorry your many friends and I could not help you live longer amongst us.  But we will see you in another life freckled AZ KD brother.  Say hi to that old hound Dexter.  Love to you, Chad     

My vary first friend

Shared by John Kenyon on September 8, 2020
I was two when new people moved in across the street they had a son my age his name was Sir Stephen we became best friends early on every day we hung out and ruled the Neighborhood . It was a great street with great people Tom Frank , Steve Leibsohn , Perry Coles, Barbara Charnow and Jeanie Smith. Everyday on Orangewood Ave it was another adventure. We would all meet in someone’s front yard everyday and everyone would show up except Stephen!!! I run to his window and knockedhe would open his curtain with a book in his hands!!! Stephen loves to read . 
One afternoon we were playing on the swings Stephen was pushing me really high and I fell off!!! I got knocked out and he thought I was dead.  I found him hiding in the clothes hamper in his bathroom. 
I was blessed to have Stephen in my life. He gave me some of my best adventures, laughs and childhood memories!!! God bless you Stephen I love you 

My Boss

Shared by Carol Sneeden on September 7, 2020
Stephen was the best!!! We worked together at InCide Technology which produced a boric acid white powder that you sprayed into manholes to kill cockroahes!  Stephen, Deanna and I decided  to go to the convention for the wastewater departments in Laughlin!!! We loaded up the car with our product in baggies and display.   We were laughing and telling stories.  Stephen starts bragging. You guys I have never had a speeding ticket in my life!!! It was 3 minutes and the siren startedto go off behind us. The policeman pulls us over. Deanna and I started laughing and ask if he would like us to pull out our baggies with the white powder in them.   I don’t think Stephen talked to us the rest of the drive!!! But once we got there we had a wonderful time!!! Loved working with him.  Great sense of humor   Love you Stephen.  Carol Kenyon Sneeden   we laughed about that story allot.