MACHIAS, MAINE - John Howard Ahlin, 92, died peacefully May 12, 2013, in Machias. He was born April 21, 1921, in Worcester, Mass., the son of Eric and Ada (Anderson) Ahlin.
He graduated from Worcester schools and enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1942, serving four years in the European and Asian Theaters in World War II, as an Electrician's Mate first class. During his years in the service, he contracted tuberculosis and was hospitalized for two years, during which time he decided teaching would be his life's work. Majoring in history, he studied at Clark University and Harvard and received his A.B., A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Boston University and became a Professor at both Emerson and Wheelock Colleges. While at Emerson, he met and married Marjorie Whiting in l960, and the couple would spend their first summer in Maine that year, eventually purchasing a lakeside cabin near Machias and enjoying many summers there.
During a sabbatical in Medellin, Colombia, Ahlin taught at the Universidad de Antioquia. For four years he conducted an on-site South American study program in Medellin with Wheelock students. Because of his close association with Colombia, he served as Chairman of the Massachusetts/Antioquia Partners of the Americas Program, where he facilitated cultural exchanges between Massachusetts and Colombia. In 1976 the Ahlins and daughter Jessie made Maine their year-round home. A noted author, educator and historian, Ahlin is widely recognized as a driving force behind many enduring volunteer programs in Washington County. Active on an early Committee for Revitalization and Comprehensive Planning in Machias, he was also a board member of Families United, Meals for Me and the Machias Valley Sportsmen's Club. He was also the Director of Project Alert, a substance-abuse prevention program for young people.
Internationally, in addition to work in Colombia, he was a visiting professor in Karlstad, Sweden, at the Center for Public Health Research, and while in Sweden enjoyed meeting many of his distant cousins. He also taught at the...