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Paul W. Smith: Remembering precious lives from the Ahee family

Paul W. Smith

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’” 

We have lost two incredible people in the last week … two people from the same amazing family. 

Not a husband and wife, but a mother and one of her sons.  

First, the matriarch of the Edmund T. Ahee family, Bettejean Ahee, one of the most elegant, gentle, generous, caring and kind people you could ever meet. She and her late husband, Edmund T. Ahee, built a fabulous family jewelry business, and a fabulous family.

Bettejean Ahee, (second to the left) was one of the most elegant, gentle, generous, caring and kind people you could ever meet, Smith writes.

When I first walked into their store 25 years ago, Mr. Ahee took such pride in showing me around his life’s work, "Believe it or not, I started selling jewelry in my uncle's bowling alley!” He certainly had come a long, long way. His pride swelled even more when he introduced me to his “employees,” a seemingly endless stream of Ahee children, Lowell, Pamela, Peter, Gregory, Christopher, John and Edmund T. Jr.

Years later and there are now 21 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. Bettejean, a lifelong philanthropist and true friend to the community and to all who were lucky enough to know her, died Oct. 31. She had just turned 91. 

About 25 years ago, Bettejean’s son John was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer and given very little chance of surviving. In John’s words, God had a different plan for him, and along with a miracle from Fr. Solanus Casey, John was given, as he often put it, a “bonus” 25 years to have Connie, his beloved wife, their son Zach and daughter Ana. He was so thankful to be “blessed” to be with them as long as he was. 

He never realized, it was all of us who were blessed to have that “bonus” time with him. 

John joined his mother and father Nov. 5.

Paul W. Smith is host of “The Paul W. Smith Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.