John A. Mahan
John Anthony “Jack” Mahan, a life long Stamford resident, died Easter Sunday at home at the age of 90 after a long illness. He was surrounded by family. His wife of 62 years Evelyn Riley Mahan and his son Kevin predeceased him. He is survived by his children Mary Ann of Norwalk (her partner Saithong Ballapavanich), Connecticut, daughter in law Leigh Mahan of Hamilton, Ontario, Kieran (Blair) Mahan of Medford, New Jersey, Brian (Martha) of Manassas, Virginia, Carmel of Odenton, Maryland and Sean (Rebecca) of Hampton, Virginia. Nine grandchildren, his cousins Anna and William Byrnes, and four nephews and a niece also survive him. His children, his niece Catie Sheehan, Saithong Ballapanavich, and Steve Gasper all participated in his care.
Jack Mahan grew up in Stamford, CT the son of Irish immigrants Katherine Molloy and John Mahan, who predeceased him, as did his brother Charles. As a child he was elected “Mayor” of Rogers School over older grade children, a social achievement he relished for many years. In his teens and early twenties, he was a member of the Carmelite order and his support for them never wavered over the years. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army. He was selected to participate in the Yale University’s Japanese Language Program. In late years, he enjoyed reunions with his classmates. He graduated from Catholic University in Washington D.C. and received his Master’s and sixth year certificate from Columbia University. He taught at Iona Prep and was a teacher in the Stamford Public School System and retired as an Assistant Principal from Newfield School, which for many years sponsored a student award in his name. Education, and the development of each child’s potential, was his life’s work. His greatest satisfaction came from helping learning disabled children reach their full potential.
After retirement from Stamford public schools, he traveled often with his wife Evelyn nationally, internationally and especially to keep up with the lives of his children and grandchildren, whose events he never missed.
He was active in the Catholic Church all his life. He met his future wife Evelyn in the choir at St. Mary’s church. He was a President of the Serra club of Stamford; a Catholic organization devoted to encouraging vocations and was a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus. With his wife Evelyn, he was active in the Christian Family Movement. Evelyn and Jack were both founding members of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church where they were Eucharistic ministers. Jack loved Latin and teaching and combined these two by volunteering his time at Our Lady Star of the Sea School doing enrichment classes. He also taught at St. Basil’s Prep during his retirement years.
He imparted to his children a love of all things Irish, but most especially Irish music. He was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the The Wild Geese. He had a bright and intellectually curious mind and as a result had a diversity of interests. He was never without at least one book and could never pass a bookstore without stopping. He enjoyed summers at the beach in Shippan with his children and in later years family vacations with children and grandchildren to Cape Cod and North Carolina.
He was highly artistic, with skills in calligraphy and the painting of icons. He painted pictures for his grandchildren of their favorite characters and made icons for their confirmations.
He enjoyed a 90th birthday party this past summer with many family and friends and despite his advancing years remained an indominatable spirit and young at heart.
Friends may call at the Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory, 104 Myrtle Ave., Stamford, CT 06902 on Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 1200 Shippan Ave., Stamford, on Thursday April 28th, 2011 at 10:00AM. Internment will follow at the St. Mary R.C. Cemetery of Rye Brook, New York.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Carmelites Friars, P.O.Box 3079, Middletown, NY 10940-08990 or Our Lady Star of the Sea School, 1200 Shippan Avenue, Stamford, CT 06902.
The Nicholas F. Cognetta Funeral Home & Crematory is honored to assist the Mahan family with the arrangements .
Online Condolences can be made at www.cognetta.com