Joseph R. McMahon, born May 28, 1927, passed away at the age of 93 of natural causes on Sunday,
September 27, 2020, at Overland Park Regional Medical Center surrounded by family and loved ones.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; daughters Debra (Arthur), Patricia (Steve), Kathryn (Kevin) and sons
Daniel and Joseph (Geri), step-daughters Cindy (Quent), Shonna (David) and step-son Randy;
grandchildren Andy, Michael, Benjamin, James, Jon, Tori, Jenny, Nicole, Brandon, Kyle, Amy, Shon,
Clinton, Cody, Mandi and Andrew; seven great-grandchildren; brother William; and many cherished
nephews and nieces (some of whom called him “Joe Boat”). Joe was preceded in death by his beloved
parents, sisters Eloise Catherine and Yvonne Rose, brother-in-laws Johnny and Louie, sister-in-law
Marea, and his grandson, Alex.
Joe was the eldest of the four children born to William Joseph McMahon and Eloise McCarty McMahon.
When he was very young, Joe was affectionately known as “Little Joe the Wrangler” to his family. He
had spent much time with his beloved Grandma Kate McCarty--a teacher to whom education was of
paramount importance—who prepared him exceptionally well for his first days of elementary school. On
his first day of first grade, Joe was instructed to perform a few tasks along with his classmates—write his
name, address, the numbers from one to ten, read Henny Penny and the Gingerbread Boy—which he
promptly did. Mrs. McKay, surprised at this precocious display, gave him the second-grade level work;
Joe completed these tasks as well. And so, Joe was placed in the third grade in as many days in school.
When his mother learned of this meteoric rise through the education system, she intervened and
ensured the Wrangler was back with the other kids his age. At the age of 11, the responsibility of
earning a wage was thrust upon Joe when his father died. He delivered groceries before and after school
each day. His Grandpa Dan McCarty—a widower by this time—moved in with Joe, his mother, sisters
and brother. Joe attended Bishop Ward High School but left immediately after his junior year, when he
finally succeeded in convincing his mother to allow him to enlist in the armed forces. Five days after his
17th birthday in June of 1943, the under-aged Joe--accompanied by his mother-- enlisted in the United
States Navy, where he served active duty as an aircrewman mechanic. Upon his return from service, Joe
completed his GED and went on to graduate from Kansas City Kansas Community College while
continuing to serve in the Naval Reserve.
Joe spent his adult working career in management in the food industry with A&P Tea Company (27
years) and then Russell Stover Candies (21 years) until his retirement. He remained very active for many
years with motorcycle travel, his pristine 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, various boats, and anything with
wheels. Joe was fascinated with all kinds of computers, electronics, and mechanical things—he never
encountered a broken appliance or motorized object that his fingers did not itch to repair. He remained
current with technology to the end of his life, trying to master his Apple Watch, arguing with his Amazon
Echo and using his iPad to video call his children almost daily. Joe was in charge of his mental faculties
his entire life, to the point of doing his own taxes in 2020. Joe was an entertaining storyteller and thrived
when surrounded by his loved ones. He was a parishioner of Prince of Peace Catholic Church.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your local hospice.
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