Tahlequah Daily Press


July 13, 2014

Burt Mahaney

TAHLEQUAH — Long-time Tahlequah businessman, community and civic leader, James “Burt” Mahaney, passed away on Wednesday, July 9, in Tahlequah. Services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Tahlequah on Monday, July 14, at 10 a.m., with interment at Park Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be held Sunday, July 13 from 6–8 p.m. at Hart Funeral Home.

Throughout his lifetime, Burt had many roles and wore a multitude of hats, but four main points were consistent: hard work; a brilliant, inquisitive mind; his family; and his love for Jesus Christ.

Burt was born on Dec. 27, 1926, to James “Jim” and Marie Mahaney. While in high school, he worked the wheat harvest every summer and drove a school bus during the year. He graduated valedictorian from Union Grade School in Adair County, with a graduating class of 7 students.

Upon returning from W.W.II, Burt enrolled at Northeastern State University, under the GI Bill. During college, he bought and drove a school bus to make a living while going to school. After two years, he taught school in Rolla, Kansas, then Union Grade, but continued to work on completion of his degree. In 1952, Burt graduated from NSU with a Bachelor in Business Education and Woodworking Shop.

He and Lou Alice McCollum married on June 7, 1953. They moved to Vinita, where Burt taught high school woodshop.

A year later, they established permanent residence in Tahlequah, and bought out a local agent to create the Mahaney Insurance Agency. In addition to insurance, Burt also bought, developed and sold real estate, built houses, owned Bumble Bee Acres Trailer Park, and a mini-storage. Burt was also an inventor; he developed the “Pick-Up Lift,” for which he was awarded a patent.

Burt Mahaney’s life was truly remarkable. He was a storyteller and appreciated the characters more than the action; the journey more than the arrival. Burt had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a long-time member of the Coffee Club at the Donut Shop, and before that at The Shack Cafe. Burt’s passion for friends and food encouraged two of his favorite roles, that of “Dessert Connoisseur” and “Pie Aficionado.”

Burt had a commitment to his community. He liked people and they trusted and respected his calm leadership. Burt was a dedicated Christian and life-long member of the Baptist church. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Tahlequah for over 60 years, serving as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He was a member of the Oklahoma American Legion Post 135. He was extremely active in Tahlequah Lions Club, serving as Zone F Chairman in 1974, and in 1975 was the Zone F “White Cane Project” Fundraising Chair, to furnish the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute.

He was a loving, loyal and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, son. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Janice Mahaney; his parents; his brothers: Carl, Clyde, and John Mahaney; and his sister, Nina Eastham.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lou Alice Mahaney; daughter, Nancy Mahaney of Salt Lake City, Utah; son, Richard Mahaney and his wife Brigitte of Queensbury, New York; daughter, Kathleen Jones and her husband Darrin of Rose Hill, Kansas; grandson, Blaine Jones of Derby, Kansas; and grandchildren Emma, Elizabeth, and Jack Mahaney of Queensbury. Survivors also include many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends. Burt Mahaney was a truly blessed man.

The family would like to thank Carter Home Health Care, Carter Hospice and the staff at the Cherokee County Nursing home for the care and support they gave to make Burt’s final days comfortable.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association or the First Baptist Church Tahlequah Building Fund.

Hart Funeral Home, 1506 N. Grand, 918-456-8823.

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