Patrick John McMahon
Patrick John McMahon was born and raised in the community of Benton, Illinois, in 1938. With a heritage of his community, including the Menominee and Cherokee Indians, Pat was an active part of his uncle’s dairy farm and enjoyed playing music beginning as a teen. Pat played the Double (upright) bass in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra as a youth, was part of a local band called “The Four Vests”, and even got to know, through local industrial families, a few guys from England who would later form a small rock band called “The Beatles”, and play with them when they visited their family who worked in Illinois, long before anyone knew who they were.
Throughout high school, Pat enjoyed playing basketball and attended the University of Southern Illinois on a basketball scholarship. During university, Pat was a part of the Air Force ROTC and later joined the Air Force, after college graduation, where he learned to fly. It was during his time with the USAF that he saw training films about landing on aircraft carriers. Upon remarking to his CO that doing such would require the special skills of a talented pilot, he was offered a transfer and became an aviator for the US Navy during the Vietnam War. As with many men who served in that conflict, after being a fighter pilot, flying from the USS Constellation and other carriers, he came home beaten and traumatized with a new face because of the numerous plane crashes he had survived.
After a time of healing, Pat completed his Master’s Degree as a Commercial Electrical Engineer and worked for coal mines and power production plants through North America and the Middle East. His many interests led Pat to get involved with Sprint Car racing, Antique Collectable Car Restoration, and Ag Aviation, as well as other local commercial flying throughout North America.
As happens in all of our lives, Pat testified that he made some bad decisions through which God spoke to him. Upon hearing God call to him in the middle of a very low time in his life, Pat accepted Jesus as His Savior and gave himself to God for His purposes. Shortly thereafter, Pat answered the call to Pastoral Ministry and served as an ordained Southern Baptist pastor for several years. Pat finally stepped away from fulltime ministry due to family needs, but continued to preach as called upon for the rest of his life and served in Sunday School classes and even in a Christian Clown Ministry with Mary Ann.
Pat was very proud of his final career working for JB Hunt Trucking Company. He worked in the corporate offices alongside JB and his family for a while before finding a peace of mind and a joy similar to that of flying behind the wheel of big rigs. He drove for JB Hunt for 15 years and trained many of their drivers for over a decade. Pat left trucking to sit beside his second wife, Patricia, whom he watched die while fighting cancer. Patricia, a national barrel racing champion, got Pat involved with horses while living in Vilonia, Arkansas. He worked alongside her in equestrian training where he met the Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, and taught his daughter how to ride horses.
Finally, Pat met the family of Conly Rutland in his retired years and eventually became an adopted member of the family as he joined in with helping Conly through his final years. After Conly’s death, Pat married Mary Ann in November of 2008 and has been a cherished member of his third family for the last ten years.
Pat has worked at Topeka Baptist Church as a Sunday School teacher; he has been a Clown for Christ; he worked in the community as a truck driver, and he enjoyed wood working and tractor implement restoration. For the last several years, he has worked alongside Mary Ann to bake cakes, cater events, and even decorate for weddings.
This last year, his family gave him the first birthday party he ever had as he turned 80 on June 29. Having lived such a full life and experienced so many monumentous events, his South Mississippi family, including his church family, enjoyed celebrating a lifetime of achievements with him.
Known for his creative answers, willingness to serve, unique sense of humor, abilities to help, and character molded by a lifetime of challenges, Patrick John McMahon will be sorely missed by friends and family alike.
Pat passed from this life, Thursday, January 10, 2019, at Lawrence County Hospital at age 80. Preceding him in death were his parents; a wife, Patricia; sisters, Carolyn, Margie, and Alma; brothers, Adrian, James and Roy McMahon, and a daughter, Paula. Survivors are his brother, Robert McMahon; his wife, Mary Ann; sons, Patrick James McMahon and wife, Karen, and Philip Joseph McMahon and wife, Debbie; a daughter, Pamela Jean Doris; a step-daughter, Amy Rutland; a stepson, Micah Rutland and wife, Katie; 12 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.