Jack Mahon, Jr.

93, son of a cattle rancher became a lifelong forester

John Joseph (Jack) Mahon, Jr. died in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, at St. Peters Hospital in Helena, Mont.

Our wonderful dad and husband was born on Nov. 16, 1926 and grew up on a small mountain cattle ranch in Buena Vista, the oldest son to John and Harriet Mahon.

He had a brother, Delbert, and a sister, Margie. Young Jackie grew to love the outdoors. He watched the Forest Service Rangers ride their horses by the ranch and dreamed of being one someday.

As World War II raged on, before graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army in 1944. Not being able to attend graduation, the high school draped a U.S. flag over his chair. Jack served in Germany as a military police officer and was honorably discharged in October, 1946.

Jack came home from the Army longing to ranch with his father, but his father was getting out of the cattle business and so encouraged Jack to get an education and a good job.

Jack attended Colorado A&M College on the GI Bill and got a B.S. degree in range & forest management. During summers between college, he got reacquainted with young 17-year-old Patsy McKenna, a local girl whose family was great friends with the Mahon family.

She caught his eye at a Grange meeting, and he was determined that she would be his wife someday. They were married on Dec. 27, 1950.

Jack worked for a forest ranger in Buena Vista, establishing boundaries for cattle grazing. Then he worked for the U.S. Forest Service, then in private forest industry as a logging superintendent and a mill manager at several logging mills.

In his late life, (79 – 85 years) he was a private timber surveyor. Jack would be called a “True Generational Forester” because he cared for the forests and understood how to make the timberlands thrive.

He fought hard for the land in the best ways he knew how, including writing many letters to the editor to promote good forest management.

He is survived by his lovely wife Patricia, their four children Julie (Steve Martin), Kristy (Rick Chadwick), Michael (LaRona) and Tom; 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, with three more great-grandchildren to be born in 2021.

Condolences can be sent to Pat Mahon, at Touchmark Assisted Living in Helena, Mont. A local Townsend Catholic Church service and a burial service in Buena Vista are being planned for next year.