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James A. "Jay" McMahan

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James A. "Jay" McMahan Obituary
James A. "Jay" McMahan
February 9, 1923 - May 3, 2011
The incredibly blessed and full life of 88 year old Jay McMahan came to a peaceful end on Tuesday, May 3rd at his home in Los Angeles. He fought the good fight and will be terribly missed by his large family and circle of friends.
Jay was born in Bakersfield, California in 1923, the only child of Jim and Bea McMahan. Jay's father and uncle, John McMahan, started the first MCMAHAN'S Furniture Store in downtown Bakersfield in 1919 and by the time Jim moved his family to the Brentwood section of Los Angeles in 1928, he had a second store in East Bakersfield and a growing business.
Jay started his primary education at the Hollywood Military Academy in Brentwood and continued on to Harvard Military Academy in North Hollywood. He loved and excelled at sports and was named MVP for Harvard football both his junior and senior years. Upon graduation from Harvard in 1941, Jay attended USC and was a devoted Trojan football fan for all of his life.
He enlisted in the Army Air Force in WWII where he contracted pneumonia which challenged him his entire life. Jay, however, was never a complainer.
Jay met Jacqueline Logan-Jones in 1940. Their first date was at the Del Mar Club in Santa Monica and the music never stopped. Throughout 68 years of marriage, Jackie and Jay had 6 children, 14 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Together they shared a love of travel, children and animals.
After his father's death in 1951, Jay took over the family business, McMahan's Furniture, and helped to grow it into a 50 store chain throughout the western United States. Then in 1978, Jay and a partner, Howard Lester, bought a controlling interest in a kitchenware business called Williams-Sonoma and took it public in 1983. Jay was a Director of Williams-Sonoma from 1979-2003 and a Director Emeritus since 2003.
Jay was an avid lifetime golfer, a fabulous skier, a horseman, a world traveller since early childhood and an entertaining story and joke teller. To punctuate a well told joke, he often couldn't resist a self-congratulatory knuckle scrub to his head.
Jay was a member of the Los Angeles Country Club, The Beach Club, The Valley Club of Montecito and The Eldorado Country Club. He golfed passionately into his early 80s.
Jay will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his endless generosity to family and friends and his dynamic love of life. We are missing him already.
A memorial celebration for Jay will be held Thursday, May 12th at noon at the Los Angeles Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the UCLA Center on Aging, c/o Dr. Gary Small, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles 90024-1759.
Midgley Gardenside Mortuary (800) 795-0028
Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 10, 2011
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