John Albert McMahon(1922 - 2013)

John Albert McMahon, 91, formerly of Starlight, PA passed on September 15th at the Lutheran Nursing Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His death was due to natural causes.

Jack was born in Chicago, IL on February 16th, 1922, to the late Albert and Cecilia McMahon.

Early in his childhood it became apparent that he had a exceptional singing voice. At the age of seven, "Little Jackie McMahon" had his own 15-minute radio program and sang at his father's numerous political rallies.

McMahon left school in the ninth grade, and became the sole wage earner for his father, brother and sister, after his mother died and his father suffered a stroke. Seeking better weather for his ailing father, he moved his family to California.

He found a job at Hayward Deverage Agency in Hollywood, but a severe motorcycle accident kept him out of work and WWII, leaving him with a crippled right leg.

In spite of his handicap, he acquired singing gigs and his beautiful Irish tenor had matured.

McMahon began to study voice and music as performing had become a full time career.

Jack toured with Charles Laughton's adaptation of John Brown's Body as a member of the Voices of Walter Schumann, along with Tyrone Power, Judith Anderson and Raymond Massey. After two years of barnstorming the country, it had a Broadway run. He continued his studies in New York City where he appeared in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Lohengrin and was a regular in the chorus at Radio City Music Hall and The Robert Shaw Chorale. Self-taught on guitar, Jack also developed his own solo act, performing in clubs and schools around the city.

In 1962 he was in an off-Broadway revival of John Brown's Body where he met Judy Ebert, who became his wife.
Jack decided that he needed a more 'reliable' way to make a living for his growing family and found a job at Mercury Records. He was a studio engineer, working with artists from Quincy Jones to John Denver, then eventually ended up running the studio.
In the early 70s many of the big studios shut down and Jack decided to look for another type of work. The family now had grown to four children. They had purchased a vacation house in rural Pennsylvania and discovered that a nearby lakeside country inn was up for sale. He became an innkeeper at The Inn at Starlight Lake and ran it with Judy for over 30 years.

Jack is survived by his former wife, Judy, of Binghamton NY, Cecilia Hunter and husband Tim of Milwaukee, WI., Will and wife Carina of Seattle WA., John and wife Julie of New York City, and Patricia McMahon of Philadelphia, PA., granddaughters Sheila and Annie Hunter, brother Jim and wife Rosie of New Bern, N.C., sister Patricia Wheeler of Camarillo, CA., and numerous nieces and nephews.

A man of many talents, Jack McMahon took on whatever came his way, whether it was hitting a high C, playing guitar, becoming a very good amateur photographer, sound engineer, signmaker, bartender - the list goes on.

He loved a good cup of coffee, gin martinis (had to be made just so), opera, folk, and jazz music. He encouraged his children to pursue higher education, which he never had a chance to do.

He was an autodidact, constantly reading, following the events of the day - politics, literature and history. He was a good friend, and if a stranger needed help in any way, Jack was there to provide it.

He served as President of the Hancock Rotary Club and conducted the choir for a short stint at the Catholic church in Lake Como, PA.

His good ear, wit and wisdom will be missed.

Published in Wayne Independent on Sept. 25, 2013