Thursday, January 31, 2019
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
An exceptional man, husband, and trusted friend, Edward McMahon will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered. His love of family, his dedication to everything he set his heart and mind to doing, as well as his loving way of treating each and every person he met with kindness will be his greatest legacy. Deeply loved, his memories will be cherished forever by all those he leaves behind.
Looking back on the 1920s, it was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. By 1922, over 500 commercial radio stations were in operation in the US, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated and the Great Railway strike began that July. With the media focused on jazz musicians and celebrities, Edward G. and Harriot I. (Flanders) McMahon welcomed their newborn son, Edward James into the world on February 23rd in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His birth brought his parents great joy. Later, he was joined by a younger brother, Donald.
Proud of his Irish heritage, Ed’s ancestors immigrated from County Limerick, Ireland in the 1870s. Ed attended local schools and graduated in 1940 at the tender age of seventeen from Western State High School, located on the property of what later was known as the east campus of Western Michigan College. He spent the next several months working in the grocery business before enlisting in the United States Army Air Force in October of the same year. Ed proudly served his country in the South Pacific where he was involved in the Battle of New Guinea. He also entered Japan and the surrounding islands after the atomic bomb was dropped searching caves for remaining enemy combatants. He was very proud of his years of service and returned home in January of 1946. His parents along with his close friend, Dick Bliss who had miraculously survived the Bataan Death March, greeted him at the Kalamazoo train station. Returning to his work with the grocery business he also learned the building trade while working for area private contractors.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of his first wife of more than thirty-two years, Evelyn Eaton! Eager to spend their lives together, they married on March 15, 1949, in Lagrange, Indiana. She was working at the Upjohn Company and helped him land a job sweeping floors for one dollar an hour, a decent wage in 1950. Drawing on his knowledge of building and constructing, he built their family home in Kalamazoo in 1958. Ambitious as well as experienced, he worked his way up the corporate ladder providing him with the opportunity to open a fermentation plant for the company in Puerto Rico. He was extremely proud of this project and went on to win the prestigious W.E. Upjohn Award for outstanding service in 1969. After twenty-eight remarkable years with Upjohn, he retired as a Department Head in February 1979 to help care for both his wife and his mother. Sadly, Evelyn passed away in July of 1981 and his mother passed the following year.
Ed went on to happily marry a second time to wife, Beverly Shannon Bresman, on August 24, 1982. During the course of their twenty-eight years together they traveled extensively throughout the US, Canada, Alaska, and Mexico. He and Beverly visited all but two of the fifty states. With Beverly’s large family, there was never a dull moment! They attended countless family get-togethers as well as weddings, graduations, and funerals. Ed believed in the goodness of all people and never missed an opportunity to share in each and every celebration over the years. They were fortunate to spend many of their winters down south in the warmer states of Florida, Alabama, and Texas. These trips afforded him the opportunity to continue his favorite pastime of playing golf or going fishing. Beverly later became ill with a lung disease that limited their travels for the last seven years before she died.
Ed lived his life with immeasurable generosity. Known to anonymously send groceries to family or friends in need, his philosophy was to always be willing to help out as long as it wasn’t interfering. His loving and warm personality touched the lives of many and there is no doubt that he will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Edward James McMahon, age 96, of Kalamazoo, Michigan died peacefully on January 26, 2019. Edward was preceded in death by his first wife, Evelyn Eaton, in July 1981; his second wife, Beverly A. Shannon in April 2010; his brother, Donald Merle McMahon in February 1987; Donald’s wife, Colleen, in May 1993; and a lifelong true friend of seventy years, Robert N. Cavanaugh in November 2007. He is survived by his niece, Jeann (Fred) Stoneburner of Plainwell; his nephew, Tom (Vivian) McMahon of Mattawan; several other nieces and nephews; a step-daughter, Patricia Cisneros of Lawton, several stepsons; and several grandnieces and grandnephews including, Angie and Scott McMahon. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday, January 31st from 5 PM-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Friday, February 1st at 11 AM. A luncheon will follow in the Life Story Center. Burial will then take place at Fort Custer National Cemetery. Please visit Edward’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Southwest Michigan.