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Friends remember Law student Timothy R. Aher

Karen Langley | Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Friends on Monday remembered Timothy R. Aher, the second-year Notre Dame Law School student who died Sunday in a London suburb.

The University released Aher’s name Monday morning, a day after both Aher and sophomore Connor McGrath died in separate and unrelated incidents.

Aher, who was enrolled in the Law School’s London Law Programme, died at his residence in the town of Ilford. He lived there with another Law School student.

The University did not release information about the circumstances of Aher’s death.

Aher, from Brookfield, Conn., had been in London since the beginning of the fall semester.

Second-year law students Artie Merschat and Adam Zayed, both close friends of Aher, said he had spoken about studying in London since the beginning of their first year at the Law School. The program is open to all law students who apply, and it usually includes between 20 and 30 students, they said.

Students and faculty in London said a rosary for Aher Monday night, and a memorial Mass will be celebrated there Thursday.

Aher, 25, was a music lover with eccentric interests and a warm personality, his friends said.

“He was a beautiful and rare and amazing person,” Zayed said.

A memorial Mass was celebrated Monday afternoon in the Alumni Hall chapel. Father John Coughlin, a law professor, presided. Approximately 100 people, mostly students and faculty from the Law School, attended the Mass.

“People from all walks and cliques in the Law School were there today,” Merschat said. “He brought the Law School together.”

Aher had planned to work for Legal Aid, assisting low-income residents, after receiving his degree, Merschat said. Aher spent the summer after his first year working for the Legal Aid clinic in Waterbury, Conn. During the winter break of his first year, Merschat said, Aher worked in Brooklyn helping AIDS patients remain in their apartments.

“He was never interested in the corporate stuff,” Merschat said.

Aher received his Bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of Chicago, where he concentrated in Russian, Zayed and Merschat said.

Aher had a broad appreciation of music, film and literature from various cultures, Merschat said.

“Tim was pretty much into anything that was obscure,” he said. “He was hyper-intellectual.”

One time when Aher was in Chicago, he was preparing to play in a show with a death metal band, Merschat said, when the other band members told Aher he “wasn’t metal enough.”

So, he went to the closest Wal-Mart and bought a black felt patch with a red, five-pointed star and attached it to a black, hooded sweatshirt.

“He wore that every day the first year of law school,” Merschat said. “He referred to it as his hipster subjugation of death metal culture.”

Aher enjoyed studying at Lula’s Café on Edison Road, his friends said, adding that he was one of only a few vegetarians in the Law School.

“We were looking forward to seeing Tim next year and spending ‘3L’ with him,” Zayed said. “He was well-liked among everyone.”

A group of law students will drive to Connecticut to attend the funeral service to be held Saturday, Merschat said.

A memorial Mass for Aher and McGrath will take place Tuesday at 10 p.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Father Coughlin, of the Law School, will offer words of remembrance for Aher.