Cover photo for Douglas "Doug" Campbell Ahern's Obituary
Douglas "Doug" Campbell Ahern Profile Photo
1971 Douglas 2023

Douglas "Doug" Campbell Ahern

May 7, 1971 — January 12, 2023

Athens, Georgia

Doug Ahern was many things – a computer systems architect, a metal fabricator, a musician, an historian of amplifiers, a gardener, an artist, a mechanic and a dog trainer. But at his core, he was a soccer player. And not just any position – he was a defenseman. That mentality – the toughness, the strength, the relentlessness, the analysis, the ability to predict and react – is what defined his life.

Douglas Campbell Ahern was born May 7, 1971, in Nashua, New Hampshire. He died January 12, 2023, after being diagnosed with glioblastoma in December 2021. Doug graduated from Shiloh High School in 1989 and enrolled at the University of Georgia, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1993. That degree was the foundation of a 30-year career as an information technology systems administrator for University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

On May 7, 2010 a chance meeting at his downtown Athens birthday celebration led to a wedding with Christine Jepsen on September 23, 2015. They shared a ridiculously happy marriage full of adventure, music, animals and love.

In addition to Christine, Doug is survived by his beloved mother and father, Cheryl and Richard Ahern, brother Kenneth Ahern, aunt Tara Healy, and cousin Michael Demers.

Doug's family moved to Georgia when the boys were small, but he comes from a long line of New Hampshire Yankees. His paternal grandfather served many years in the state House of Representatives, as did his great-grandfather, who was Speaker of the House and for whom Ahern State Park in Laconia, NH is named. Both his grandmothers painted, and his maternal grandmother Olive Healy was honored with several pieces shown at juried exhibits throughout New England.

Doug was a 21st-century Renaissance man, continually surprising his wife with casual references to past adventures like crewing for a motorcycle racing team, serving as an apprentice baker, or traveling Europe as a roadie for his friends' band. He and his father Dick loved to restore old cars, including some that he assured his wife weren’t rusty but featured "original paint” and the two spent many good times in the stands at NHRA drag races over the years.

He built, designed, and repaired electric guitar amplifiers and pedals and played several instruments. A foremost expert on the Magnatone Amplifier company and its products, Doug had been planning to collaborate on a forthcoming book on its history with the President and CEO Ted Kornblum.

Doug built his dream garage in 2019 which features electronics, wood and metal shops and a music room, plus a kennel room for his wife who seemed continually to be putting stray cats in his bathroom. The garage was truly a labor of love, and Doug performed much of the work himself, including building design, electrical wiring and hanging drywall. He could fix almost anything but would never have said so, because on top of everything else Doug was a humble man.

He and Christine loved traveling with their dogs to play Dock Diving, Flyball Racing, Lure Coursing, Rally, and other sports. Doug trained and competed with his dogs Robert and Dolly, earning them several scent work titles and placements. Robert, who is blind, also won the North American Canine Scent Work Harry Award. Doug was an active member of the Oconee River Kennel Club and served on its Board of Directors, and as Volunteer Coordinator for the club’s scent work trials.

He honored his New England family’s commitment to public service with a variety of community activities, including Friends of the Georgia Museum of Natural History, Shakerag Hounds, the Oconee River Kennel Club, the Athens Area Humane Society, and Athens Community Council on Aging Meals on Wheels. In particular, Doug enjoyed serving as a mentor to a young professional as part of the USG ITS (Information Technology Services) Mentorship Program in the last year before his diagnosis.

At USG, Doug was a founding member of the system administration team. The culture he helped to create there is still in place: one that is collaborative, friendly, respectful and focused on providing robust services and support. Doug was passionate about his work and empowering others to grow and learn with him and was well-loved and respected. According to his manager and friend Mark “Happy” Plaskin, Doug “saved the day for USG schools on many occasions.”

As a lifelong Georgia Bulldog, Doug tailgated at UGA football games with the same group of dear friends, in the same spot, for decades. He wasn’t able to enjoy the back-to-back Championship win as cancer treatment had robbed him of much cognition by January 2023, but no doubt Doug is somewhere smiling about the victory now.

Soccer was Doug’s favorite thing in the world. As a child at summer camp he remembered thinking nothing could be better than getting to play soccer all day long! He went on to play in high school, and once in Athens for college, continued on with pickup, intramural, club, indoor and league soccer. Doug also loved playing in an over 30 league at Silverback Park in Atlanta. In true Doug fashion, he spent many of those long drives listening to histories of American presidents, as his intellectual curiosity was seemingly endless. At the time of his diagnosis in December 2021, Doug was on a team and still playing soccer multiple days a week. The friends Doug made on the field all those years are some of his oldest and dearest.

There is such a lot to say about Doug that it can’t possibly all be included, but he was a fluent Spanish speaker, gifted cartoonist and writer, ice-hockey fan (Go Caps), softy for any homeless person or animal, devotee of old stand-up comedians, a devoted and loving son, a hilarious storyteller, superb gift-wrapper, composer of music and much, much more.

What matters is that Doug Ahern lived a life of adventure, curiosity, passion and purpose. That life may have ended on January 12, 2023, when he was only 51 years old. But the passion, purpose and joie de vivre live on in the lives he touched; the people he loved and who loved him; and the memories they share.

A memorial service for Douglas Campbell Ahern will be held May 6, 2023, at Lord and Stephens Chapel East, Athens GA. Visitation is 5pm - 6:30pm, with the service to follow at 6:30 pm.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to Doug's longtime cause, the Athens Area Humane Society, from which he adopted his beloved late dog Bell, who along with Elby is with Doug now in the Great Beyond.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Douglas "Doug" Campbell Ahern, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Refreshments

Saturday, May 6, 2023

5:00 - 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Starts at 6:30 pm (Eastern time)

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