Thomas Lawrence McMahan (age 90) passed away on August 3, 2022, surrounded by family. As he often said, at age 90, he lived a long and very full life, filled with love and adventures.
He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 27, 1932, and later moved with his family to International Falls, Minnesota. He graduated from Falls High School in 1950, left home to join the Marines and was a veteran of the Korean War. When he returned from the war, he settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to pursue his Engineering degree and met the love of his life, Patricia Lou Yuill, who he married in 1960. He began a career with Cutler-Hammer (Eaton) and ultimately rose through the ranks to become the Manager of the Engineering Department and eventually retired in 1994 after many years of service. During this time, he and Pat moved their growing family to Asheville, North Carolina in the wonderful neighborhood of Bent Creek and were active members of St. Joan of Arc Church. Dad loved the outdoors and to travel, so he took his family on many hikes, camping trips, weekend drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the annual trips to visit family in Indiana and sometimes further north to Milwaukee and International Falls. After retirement, he and Mom spent several months hiking the Appalachian Trail, volunteered for the National Park Service at an outpost on the Yukon River in Alaska and traveled extensively all over the United States via motorcycle and RV. During his lifetime, Dad visited every state except Hawaii. He and Mom also traveled throughout Europe.
Dad’s love of Engineering and adventures led to an interest in airplanes. Not only did he get his pilot’s license, but he also built his own airplane and flew it. It was a project that took up much of the family garage and sometimes part of the backyard and occasionally he would “recruit” a child or two to help with the construction, mainly holding and fetching items.
He was a great father who could be a tough disciplinarian but who loved his children fiercely and always had their best interests at heart. His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren filled him with, joy and pride, and were a great source of comfort to him in his later years. He is preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Helen McMahan, his sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and Ralph Krysiak, sister Joan McMahan, brother, James McMahan, and wife, Patricia Lou McMahan and his second wife, Linda McMahan. He is survived by his children, Julie (and Tom) Freeman, Marcia (and Jon) Rice, Karen Colon, Jeanie (and Steve) Garrison, and Jim (and Kelly) McMahan along with 18 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren and his sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Steve Smith. Dad also had the great fortune of meeting a lovely lady, Anne Cline, late in life, whom he loved dearly and despite the distance between them, managed to get in quite a few visits before his health began to decline. Thank you to her friend, Susan, for getting her to the hospital in time for a final visit.
Details of funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society or the American Lung Association.
Your father was an adventurer with many wonderful stories to share. He impressed me as being gentle and kind.. I especially loved hearing him talk about building that plane. He was a good friend to my mom and I know they are looking down with pride for the wonderful children they raised.. Blessed to have known him.. Blue Skies and fair winds Tom!
I met Toms daughter Julie while she was attending Mercy school of nursing in 1980. When Julie went home to Ashville for spring break , she invited me up to meet her parents ! After Tom’s firm hand shake he eyed me down and drilled me with a few questions and gave me his blessing to marry his daughter! I immediately felt welcomed into their wonderful family! Tom was a great conversationalist and always a man of his word, he treated people with respect even when it came to political differences! I feel honored to have known him and will miss our conversations and friendship. His final words to me to were to take care of myself and Julie which I assured him I would always! Love You Tom Rest In Peace Sir! Sincerely Tom Freeman
Working for Tom as his Secretary was my pleasure. Tom was a good boss and a fun person with whom to work. He spoke often of his family and it was obvious how much he loved them all. Cherish your memories.
I can still hear my mother Joyce expressing concern about her brother Tom riding his motorcycle or flying his airplane. She was always concerned Uncle Tom was taking too many dangerous chances. When I would tell Uncle Tom about her worry he always responded with that deep signature laugh that would make one smile. Mom and Uncle Tom had such great love for each other regardless of the distance between them. Now, along with our dad Ralph, they are enjoying the safety of God’s Loving Arms catching up on old times with a Manhattan and sharing a pizza from DeMarinis. I am so glad I had a chance to be with Uncle Tom and his family and friends for his 90’th birthday party in April. The love that surrounded him that day was a testimony to the loving way he and Aunt Pat raised their family. Rest in Peace Uncle Tom. Say hi to our mom and dad from us.
I too have great memories of Uncle Tom. Being an adventurer myself I was always so intrigued by his travels. I was blessed as a kid before he and Aunt Pat had kids of their own to travel with them from Milwaukee to International Falls. That will always be remembered as a trip of a lifetime. My only regret was not being able to spend more time later in my life with him.