John and Joan Scahill will long be remembered by their nine nieces and nephews and friends. And their legacy will live on even further by funding services for the poor and vulnerable through Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio.

The Scahills’ bequest of nearly $750,000 will advance Catholic Charities’ mission to serve the poor, protect the vulnerable and welcome the stranger.

“We are profoundly grateful,” said Dan Sarell, Director of Mission Advancement for Catholic Charities. “The Scahills’ bequest provides the inaugural gift to the Perpetual Light Society of the Father Francis Gressle Guild. The Gressle Guild is a legacy giving society formed to mark our Centennial last year. Within the guild, the Perpetual Light Society recognizes legacy gifts over $250,000.”

Philanthropy was woven into the fabric of the Scahills’ lives. Joan served on the Board of Xavier University’s Mardi Gras Committee, Freedom Foundation, Cincinnati Bar Association Auxiliary, Cincinnati Symphony Club, Merrymaker Dance Club and Town Club. She was also Chairman of the Cincinnati’s Art Museum Gallery Aides and Volunteer Advisory Council. In addition, Joan was a member of the Cincinnati Women’s Club, and the English Speaking Union. John was very active on a pro bono basis with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation. He was a member of the University Club, Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum, Cincinnati Bar Association and the Merrymaker Dance and Town Club.

They met later in life after both establishing successful careers. John, better known to his friends and colleagues as Jack, was a graduate of St. Xavier High School, the University of Cincinnati’s College of Liberal Arts and College of Law, served in the Army Air Corps as an instructor in Air Training Command and Captain in the Judge Advocate General Department of the Air Force Reserves. As a Cincinnati Assistant Solicitor for 20 years, he represented the City of Cincinnati’s negotiation of the sale of Crosley Field, Queensgate, and the land for the development of the riverfront, particularly the Reds Cinergy ballpark. He served as Assistant Attorney General of Ohio. He was engaged in the litigation aspects of urban development law, appropriation trial work and zoning matters. He served as a right-of-way attorney and consultant throughout Hamilton, Butler and Clermont Counties. He published articles on Eminent Domain and he was a frequent speaker before professional real estate and appraisal societies in the academic area.

Joan, a graduate of Mercy High School and the University of Cincinnati’s College of Business, worked as a Financial Analyst for the General Electric Company. She was considered a career woman before that term became fashionable and had the distinction of being the first woman in all of GE, to be selected for and graduate from, their three-year executive financial training program. This resulted in Joan becoming the first woman from Evendale’s finance department to be put in management.
Over the years, she and her husband traveled to 60 countries and almost all of the states. Often they would take their nieces and nephews with them to explore the world.

“She had a laugh that would light up the entire room” according to their nephew, Ed Ahlers. He was a perhaps a bit more reserved according to Ed, who added that there was always a genuine twinkle in his eye, especially when talking about and teasing his beloved “Joan Catherine.” They were in many ways the perfect couple, he said, totally devoted to each other.

Regarding their generous gift to Catholic Charities, Ed explained, “Their Catholic faith was very important to them both. They shared it by example in how they lived their lives. They knew that they had been blessed and they clearly wanted to help make a lasting difference for those less fortunate and those in need. This was a way for them to return the blessings the Lord had bestowed upon them.”

Learn more about legacy giving at Catholic Charities. If you have questions, call Dan Sarell at 513-672-3710 or email him at