Benjamin Roberts Ahner, 85, of Sennett, died Tuesday, March 9 at St. Joseph's Health Center of complications from cardiovascular disease. Ben was born in Warsaw, N.Y., the son of the late Benjamin F. Ahner and Loretta Schrader Ahner.
Ben was a believer in lifelong learning and devoted most of his adult life to that pursuit. After high school, he began working at Eastman Kodak Co. as a lab technician, taking night courses at the University of Rochester. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1957 and returned to Kodak in 1959. He married Susan Frelier in 1962 and completed his BA degree at The Ohio State University, followed by completion of his MA in Sociology at Indiana University. He began his teaching career at Auburn Community College in 1968 where he taught sociology for 13 years, having participated in the creation of the Inmate Education Program at Auburn Correctional Facility. He also took many post graduate education courses at Cornell University before leaving the college in 1984. He worked for 7 years as Business Manager at H&L Ford and then ended his formal working career at the Cayuga County Board of Elections.
After retirement, Ben and Sue travelled the world for 10 years visiting most of Europe, South America, Okinawa, Australia, and many US states. Between trips, he spent his time reading and volunteering for various community boards including the Gavras Center, and volunteering for Meals on Wheels. He was a deacon and elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church and participated in many church projects. Active in Democratic politics, he served as member and chairman of the Sennett Board of Assessment Review until 2020. At his home during the winter, he was often seen with his snow blower clearing his neighbor's sidewalks and driveways.
Ben is survived by his wife Sue of 58 years, his daughter, Beth A. Ahner (Kirk M. Sigel), his son Benjamin F. Ahner (Sandra Ahner) and grandchildren Walter J. Sigel, Henry B. Sigel, Eiji, Aaron, and Gabriel Ahner, Sister Marian Limber, and Brothers James (Yolanda) and Gordon (Susan) Ahner. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and many good friends.
In addition to his parents, Ben was predeceased by his sister Dorothy Pattridge.
Calling hours are from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 13 at the Brew Funeral home, 48 South Street, Auburn. A memorial service will be held at Westminster Church in early spring. Donations may be made in Ben's memory to the Calvary Food Pantry or Westminster Church, 17 William St. Auburn.
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Calvary Food Pantry
90 Franklin Street, Auburn NY 13021
Westminster Presbyterian Church
17 william Street, Auburn NY 13021