Victor Mahoney, 94: Teacher, writer born to be a patriot
By J.E. Geshwiler
Vic Mahoney was born on Nov. 11, 1918. While it was known officially as Armistice Day, most Americans, Mahoney’s parents included, thought it was more than a cease-fire. They regarded it as a day of triumph over the nation’s World War I enemies.
To mark the event, the couple named their newborn son Victor.
When Congress in 1954 transformed Armistice Day into Veterans Day, his birthday took on added meaning for Mahoney, who served three years as a Seabee in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
As it turned out, he didn’t have an aptitude for the Seabees’ mission of construction, said his wife, Mary Mahoney, However, he did have a talent for writing, and so the Navy assigned him to turn out a morale-boosting battalion newspaper.
It was the kind of job Mahoney would reprise with gusto four decades later.
In 1987, Mahoney, a retired educator living in Decatur and a dedicated member of a local American Legion post, co-founded the post’s newsletter with George Hooten, since deceased. It was called the Bugle Call Rag after a World War II-era song.
For the next quarter-century Mahoney each month would write about past land, sea and air battles, about current-day military issues such as U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, and about touching remembrances of veterans.
“Vic’s writings showed a wide range of interests, a keen sense of observation and a solid grasp of military history,” said a fellow Legionnaire, Charles Capps of Tucker.
The Bugle Call Rag won numerous awards for excellence from the Legion’s headquarters in Indianapolis and even attracted a nationwide following. “Veterans from all over the U.S. paid annual $25 dues to receive the newsletter monthly, largely because of Vic’s articles,” Capps said.
Mahoney also was a valued Legion adviser, Capps added. As a former post commander, Mahoney sat in on many executive committee meetings. “Vic was frugal with words, but when he spoke, we paid attention,” Capps said.
Victor Anthony Mahoney, 94, died Wednesday at Halcyon Hospice of heart valve failure. His funeral Mass is 2 p.m. Monday at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Decatur. Interment with military honors is 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. A.S. Turner and Sons Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
A graduate of Seton Hall (N.J.) University, Mahoney taught there as an assistant professor of English before moving to Kingston, N.Y., where he taught high school English. During the latter part of his career, he supervised the language arts programs of four Kingston schools.
Mrs. Mahoney said her husband retired to Georgia to get away from the cold. Here he busied himself with Legion activities; with his commitment to St. Thomas More church, where he served faithfully for years as an usher at Saturday night services; and with his volunteer work at PAWS Atlanta, where he specialized in socializing elderly cats.
He was keen to stay fit even in retirement, his wife said, working out three times a week at a gym into his 90s.
Also surviving are two daughters, Margaret Stewart and Bridget Mahoney, both of Kingston, N.Y.; two sons, Charles Mahoney of Gainesville, Texas, and Victor Mahoney of Loudonville, N.Y.; five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.