Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

James Dennis 'Jim' McMahon, Bank President

By Diana Sevanian
Signal Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

J
ames Dennis McMahon, the first president of the former Santa Clarita National Bank, died Sept. 21 at age 77 from complications suffered in a fall.
    Earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Montana in Missoula in 1950, McMahon went into the banking profession in Montana and North Dakota before moving to Sacramento, where he was named regional manager of First Western Bank. Eventually he was offered a position as president of the new, federally chartered Santa Clarita National Bank, which was founded by local business leaders and opened Oct. 1, 1965, in Newhall.
    Under McMahon's supervision the bank grew from its humble beginnings in two double-wide trailers to include 10 branch offices throughout Southern California. It was eventually acquired by Security Pacific National Bank, which itself would merge into Bank of America.
    McMahon's 36-year banking career included six years on the board of the Federal Reserve District's Los Angeles branch, and service as president of the Southern California Independent Bankers Association.
    Locally, McMahon was elected to the William S. Hart Union High School District board and was a member of the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital board. He was president of Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus, and was a member of the Elks Drum and Bulge Corps.
    After his retirement in 1985 at age 59, McMahon moved with his wife Amy to Encinitas. He enjoyed golfing, Western films, country music and deep-sea fishing, and he traveled to Ireland three times to trace his parents' roots.
    "Dad would always say, 'You are half Irish and half Yugoslavian Croatian, but don't ever forget your Irish heritage,'" his family members wrote.
    McMahon was born Jan. 20, 1926, in Anaconda, Mont., to Hugh McMahon and Mary Ann Shannon — he from Northern Ireland and she from Southern Ireland. McMahon married Amelia "Amy" Jean Blazina at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Nov. 3, 1951. Together they had three sons and two daughters.
    Preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, Jack, he is survived by his wife, Amy, of Encinitas; oldest daughter, Mary "Pat" Lowthian and her son James of Billings, Mont.; Jim and Susan McMahon and their children, Josh and Savannah of Encinitas; Jean "Keke" Cummings and her son, Cameron, of Canyon Country; Michael "Mickey" and Sharon McMahon and their son, Justin, of Valencia; Dan "Dee" and Lori McMahon and their children, Bennett, Brooks, Audrene and Kaylani, of Stevenson Ranch; Randy and Val Kruska and their son, Dylan, of Encinitas; his sister, Helen Devine of Billings, Mont.; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
    McMahon was cremated and his body will be interred in Montana. A funeral mass will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at St. John's Catholic Church at 1001 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, with a luncheon to follow at the McMahon family home. Memorials may be sent to the Anaconda Public Library Fund in care of Honor Brey.


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