John Mahoney, 90, Kingsport, passed away at home on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. John was born just eight days before the stock market crash on October 18, 1929. When his parents lost their jobs in the depression, his family moved to Youngstown, OH where his father’s brothers lived.
He graduated from Ohio State University in 1953 with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. John was hired to work for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, NY in June, 1953, but his career was placed on hold when he was summoned for ROTC duty in January 1954. He served in the Army Corp of Engineers based in Ft. Belvoir, Virginia from 1954 -1956. During the summers, he was stationed on Baffin Island north of the Hudson Bay directing the construction of movable ship docks and getting to know the local indigenous population. In 1956 he resumed his position with Eastman Kodak in Rochester NY and in 1959, he and his young family transferred to Kingsport. He continued to work for Tennessee Eastman Company until his retirement in 1988.
John was instrumental in the creation of Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport after convincing the City that a park would be a better economic investment than a housing development around the reservoir. In recognition of John’s efforts, at a Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, the Bays Mountain Association declared September 15, 2015 as John Mahoney Day.
John was an avid competitive contract bridge player since learning the game from his college fraternity brothers. Shortly after moving to Kingsport, he began looking for other contract bridge players. By October 1961, he chartered the Eastman Duplicate Bridge Club as an affiliate of the American Contract Bridge League so they could award points at games and tournaments. John served as the Club’s founding president. In 1979 he earned Life Master status from ACBL. He became a Silver Life Master in 2000; a Gold Life Master in 2004; and attained the rank of Diamond Life Master in 2011. John stopped participating in national tournaments in 2011, but he continued to play in local Bridge clubs until 2018. After the bridge games, John and Greta volunteered with their friends at the Kitchen of Hope.
After retiring, John would play bridge for hours and then go straight to volunteer at the Kitchen of Hope with his wife and friends. He continued to play bridge until he was nearly 88 years old.
John loved the outdoors, learning, music, and singing from an early age. In the 1970s he sang in the Kingsport Symphony Chorus and continued singing for family and friends to his last days. He treasured dancing with his wife Greta until they were no longer able and they loved travelling together. A life-long scholar, he devoured scientific books and mystery thrillers as fast as he could get them from the Library, and he loved sharing what he read with his children. He enjoyed hiking and sharing the outdoors with his children when they were young, and with Greta for many, many years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen Bieneman and John Francis Mahoney; brother, Robert Mahoney; son and his wife, Thomas Mahoney and Elizabeth Paris; stepson, Michael Mooneyham; and stepdaughter, Debra Mooneyham.
John is survived by his wife of 37 years, Greta Mahoney; sister, Audrey Lynn of Poway, CA; children and their spouses, Cathy Mahoney of Oakland, CA, Dr. Jane Mahoney of Oregon, WI, Don Mahoney and Mojgan Vijeh of Moraga, CA, and Mary Mahoney Hall and Maurice Hall of Orangevale, CA; grandchildren, Carlos Herrera and Maria Jose Calderon, Claudio Herrera and Jennifer Wheeler, Pablo Herrera and Shanti Manzano, Andrew Brownfield, Marialisa Brownfield, Dr. Roshan Mahoney and Joshua Brewer, Kian Mahoney, Dale Hall, and Daniel Hall; and great-grandchildren, Amancay Herrera Calderon, Sol and Makai Herrera Manzano, and Mila Herrera.
The family would like to thank Amedisys Hospice and caregivers Lynn Chandler and Sally Sexton; and Linda Shoemaker and Janice Hill for all their love and support in innumerable ways.
The family will receive friends from 3-5:00 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Kingsport. Light refreshments will be served. The funeral service will follow at 5:00 pm with Ed Clevinger, Minister officiating.
The graveside service will be conducted on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at Oak Hill Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Bays Mountain Park Association, baysmountain.com/donate/ or to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, stjude.org/give.
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