|A private funeral Mass for Kathleen A. (Adams) Ahearn, 41, of 107 A James St., who was found
dead April 27 at home, will take place in Sacred Heart Church in Greenfield. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery.
Kostanski Funeral Home is in charge. She was a former assistant manager for the Elder Lumber Co. in South
Deerfield for several years. Born in Greenfield, she lived there most of her life, and was a 1969 graduate of
Greenfield High School. She leaves her parents, Earl and Ann (Szulborski) Adams of Greenfield; a daughter,
Jennifer Jean Ahearn at home; a sister, Jean Sanders of Greenfield, and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to any charity.
Kathleen Ahearn's neighbors remember her as someone who used to baby-sit for their children
or come over to play cards. "She was nice," said Della Griffin, whose 108 James St. house is across the
street from Ahearn's 107A James St. condominium, where her body was found Monday. Ahearn, 41, had
lived in the condominium since May 1. She was a native who lived in Greenfield most of her life, and had
graduated from Greenfield High School in 1969. According to police, Ahearn's life ended eight to 11 days
ago when she was struck by a blunt object in her condominium. Yesterday, police in Keene, N.H., arrested
Kenneth P. Atkins, 47, who had been staying with Ahearn about a month. Atkins, who was found with
Ahearn's car at a Keene hotel, was held on a fugitive from justice charge in connection with her slaying.
Lisa Gundel, 22, of 111B James St., met Ahearn at a neighborhood picnic last summer behind Ahearn's
building. "She was a nice person. She had some problems," Gundel said. Gundel and her husband used to
play cards with Ahearn and Ahearn's former boyfriend and sometimes had dinners together. When Ahearn
first moved in, she went door-to-door and introduced herself to the neighbors. "She was real friendly. She
told people, 'I'm here all daycome on over anytime,' " Griffin said. Ahearn baby-sat for Griffin a few times,
and Griffin used to give her vegetables from her garden. Ahearn was unemployed for the last year, but she
had worked at Elder Lumber in Deerfield from March 1988 to January 1991, according to Elder Lumber
bookkeeper Joanne Young. She started as a store clerk and was an assistant store manager when she
resigned. Young said she was not sure why she left. Neighbors said Ahearn's former boyfriend, who also
works at Elder Lumber, moved out about a month ago. Griffin remembered Ahearn came over and cried
at her house the day he left. Then, Ahearn met Atkins at the Beacon Clinic, a detoxification treatment
facility, according to Police Chief David McCarthy. Griffin met Atkins for the first time April 8, and she
knew he had moved in with Ahearn a couple days before, she said.
"He seemed really friendly," she said. Griffin said she does not believe Ahearn and Atkins were lovers, but
thought that Atkins might be buying groceries or pitching in some other way. She figured Ahearn liked
having a man around. "I just think she wanted a friend," Griffin said. Gundel said Ahearn began to become
more withdrawn over the last six months or so, and that their friendship suffered. Gundel was away from
April 14 to April 25 and did not notice Ahearn's red Mercury Topaz missing from her driveway. Griffin,
however, had noticed that Ahearn's car was gone, and she wondered why Ahearn had not come over
and said goodbye before leaving. But she thought she might have gone to the detoxification unit again
or gone to her parents, Earl and Ann Adams, for Easter. She later noticed Ahearn's cat in the window,
but decided she would wait until yesterday before asking the people next door if they knew where she
was. If they said they did not, Griffin was going to then call the police. She did not make that call. Ahearn's
body was discovered by her parents on Monday.
Griffin said a neighbor who lives in the other side of Ahearn's duplex heard a terrific fight on April 16, but
efforts to reach that neighbor were not successful.
The last day Griffin saw Ahearn was April 15, she said. Ahearn borrowed boxes for moving that day, Griffin
said. Ahearn's lease was ending May 1, and she was leaving. She was considering three options: moving to
Georgia or Maine, or moving into government-funded housing in Greenfield, Griffin said. "My husband and
Iwe feel really bad for her family," Griffin said. "She made a bad choice. You don't ever know anymore."
Ahearn's funeral will be held at Sacred Heart Church on Federal Street tomorrow. She will be buried in
Calvary Cemetery. She is survived by parents Earl and Ann Adams, her 15-year-old daughter, Jennifer
Jean Ahearn, and her sister, Jean Sanders.