JAMES R. MCMAHON II
On October 22nd, James R. McMahon II, father of founder Fr. McMahon, passed away. But he was not just the father of our founder. He was also the grandfather of our Academy. So much of who he was has been forged into the very being of our Academy. It was not just the thousands of hours spent helping the school and students, but his character that helped form the elements that make this school what it is today.
His spirit lives within our walls.
Mr. McMahon was a man who cared deeply about identity. He would always try and get students to stand tall and speak clear and so many other small details because for him it was all the things that made them who they were. Identity was very important to him because he understood that knowing who you were and what you were about was the first step to being strong.
He was Catholic. Pure and simple.
He was a man who experienced great success in every facet of life. In his youth, he would have gone on to play Major League Baseball if it were not for a career ending injury while playing basketball for the University of Connecticut. He broke records in sports and in business, he ran committees and political rallies, but to him only one thing mattered.
He was Catholic.
He made this clear to everyone. In his later years he even wore a sweater wherever he went that simply said: "I am Catholic." For Mr. McMahon, he did not have a faith or belong to the Catholic faith. He was his faith. He would tell kids to be proud to make the sign of the cross in public and he led in that profession of faith by his own example. This was a man that lived and breathed his religion.
And this is what we strive to do because of him.
"No man putting his hand
to the plough, and looking back, is fit for
the kingdom of God."
A frequent Scriptural quote spoken by Mr. McMahon to anyone he encountered
For many being a father is a career, a job to be done. For Mr. McMahon it was an all encompassing mission. He was a great father to his children. But he was also a great father to every man, woman and child that he met. He never once turned away from someone or avoided them. He never spoke to some with hesitancy or regret. Every single soul he encountered, he spoke to as if they were the most interesting person alive.
Because in that moment they were.
He was not one who saw with eyes of prejudice or slight, he embraced every soul he met. Not due to some misguided notion of acceptance but because he was genuinely interested in everyone that he met.
Because he was generous.
He loved stories because he loved hearing about humans and the deeds that they accomplished through generosity. As a soul of generosity, he would reach out and help any man in need. Constantly he would go around campus helping kids with their jump shots in the gym, or teaching them how to properly open a door. All because he incessantly wanted to give.
It is this generosity of spirit that we wish to embody here at the Academy.
"There was nothing that
Mr. Mcmahon would not do
for you if you simply asked him.
He was another father to us. Kind, generous and strong."
He was not a confrontational man. But he was a fighter. He was a man that was only satisfied with a job well done. He had an incredible drive to be the best that he could be. Not because of pride or some vain glory.
But just because that's what you were supposed to do.
He was a man of details because he understood that it was in the details that perfection would be found. He single-handedly built the sports programs at the Academy and forged relationships with other schools for generations to come because that's just what he did. He would fight for whatever cause was dear to him. He would never give up until he got the answer that he knew the Academy needed.
He fought for us. Relentlessly.
And he would stand up for whatever he believed in. Never afraid to be the one in the room sticking out or being noticed for walking a different path. If he believed in it, he was going to fight for it.
No questions asked.
Relentless. It's a perfect word to summarize the type of fighter this man was. And it is how we too wish to be known.
"Dear God, Thank you for the ability you have given us.
Let us use it the best we can."
James R. McMahon II
your spirit will live on through the tradition that you have forged in the heart of every lion.
it is our fighting catholic spirit that will honor forever your memory and legacy.
greatest lion of la salette.