Former DeKalb County school board member Jim McMahan
Photo: AJC file photo
Photo: AJC file photo

Ex-DeKalb school board member killed in collision on Alabama lake 

A former DeKalb County school board member was killed when two personal watercrafts collided on an Alabama lake Sunday morning, board members and friends said. 

Officials said James “Jim” McMahan, 53, was killed after colliding with his 17-year-old daughter on Lake Wedowee about 9 a.m. 

McMahan’s daughter, who was not identified, was flown to a Georgia hospital, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s marine patrol division. She suffered a severe injury and lost her right leg due to the crash, officials said. Lake Wedowee is about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta.

McMahan was a member of the DeKalb County Board of Education from 2013 until last December. He decided not to seek re-election last year, making way for Allyson Gevertz to succeed him. 

McMahan owned McMahan Mortgage, where he was a broker. 

He remained active in advocating for DeKalb students after leaving the board, attending several meetings as well as meeting with parents from his old district about their concerns. 

“I feel like I’ll be able to be even more active when I get off the board,” he said last fall. 

The news of McMahan’s death came as a shock to several connected to the school district. 

“I’m waiting to wake up and realize this is a dream,” said DeKalb school board vice chairman Marshall Orson. “It’s just shocking.” 

Melvin Johnson, who also left the board last year after choosing not to run for re-election, said he was numb after finding out from a current board member. 

“I couldn’t believe her,” he said. “My heart goes out to the children and wife.”

Read and sign the online guestbook for James McMahan

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