Celebrating the life of James Patrick Mahoney
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Jim Mahoney passed away on June 3, 2020 at his home. “The world has lost a unique man.” He packed so much into his life, that is seems impossible to capture his life and essence in a few paragraphs called an obituary. He was bigger than this life and impacted so many people during the time he was with us on this planet.
Jim was born on 3/30/1952 to Jim and Dixie Mahoney in Butte Montana. His family moved to Spokane from Moses Lake when Jim was starting second grade. He attended Catholic grade schools and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1970.
After high school, Jim had a number of adventuress, including hitchhiking to Alaska, and later to Mexico where he lived on the beach in Mazatlán for a few months. He worked as a “Gandy Dancer” for the Union Pacific Railroad and worked in the Pend Oreille Mines.
Jim received his BA in Applied Psychology from EWU in 1979, and his Master of Social Work from EWU in 1985. He worked as a child and family therapist at Spokane Community Mental Health Center from 1979 to 1984. He received his LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker) and was a therapist in Private Practice from 1984 to 2013, when he retired.
Jim had an incredible command of the English language, with such an extensive vocabulary that, as he grew older, people would at times think he was confused and making up words…he wasn’t. He told family his nickname in grade school was “Jimmy the Mouth.” He put his verbal skills to use later in life as a speaker, presenting workshops in almost every state in the United States, as well as in Canada on topics including adoption, foster care, attachment, transracial families, juvenile fire-setting and childhood trauma.
Jim was a “mom and pop” landlord I Spokane and past president of the Landlord Association of the Inland Northwest. He was a partner in founding two adoption agencies.
He was brilliant, empathic, intuitive…he could start a conversation with anyone as he was so well read on so many diverse topics. He pushed everyone he met to be the best they could be and not settle for less…thus the frequently asked question, “Are you a duck or an eagle?” And, yes, this passion could be hard to live with and be around, so many found him to be frustrating. But what frustrated people most was that he would always turn out to be right. Even when you didn’t like the message.
Jim had an incredible sense of social justice, from a very young age, and was concerned about social justice issues throughout his life. Always seeking, questioning, giving. A mentor to so many.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents: Jim and Dixie Mahoney. He is survived by his wife of 32 years: Gail Burghard Mahoney, daughter: Diane Mahoney, son: Jimmy Mahoney (Aryn Fields), and grandson: James Mahoney. Also survived by his brother: Dan (Scooter) Mahoney, sisters: Julie (John) Magee, Kathy Donaldson, and Peggy Mahoney, as well as many nieces and nephews.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a later time, after restrictions on gathering have been lifted.
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