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William Earle Mahaney

October 8, 1940 May 3, 2021
William Earle Mahaney
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Obituary for William Earle Mahaney

William Earle “Bill” Mahaney squeezed every moment of life possible out of his 80-year-old body. On May 3, 2021, he decided to trade that body in for whatever comes next (and is, no doubt, wondering if he can get a senior discount on an upgrade).

Bill was born in Malden, MA on October 8, 1940, to Thelma and Josiah Mahaney. He wreaked havoc throughout Melrose, MA during his K-12 years, and then brought his fun-loving spirit to Dartmouth, where he and his two freshman year roommates Hank and Clay proudly boasted of a 5.0 first year GPA… combined. They managed to remain enrolled, and Bill graduated with an A.B. in English in 1962. He loved academia so much that he quickly followed his Dartmouth graduation with an M.A. in English from University of Connecticut in 1963 and a Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University in 1967.

He continued his love of academia for the rest of his life, becoming an English professor at Salem State College, and then accepting various challenging administrative positions at the college, including Vice President of Academic Affairs, Acting President, and MSCA Grievance Officer. He always wanted to write the great American mystery novel, but instead published a well-loved “Workbook of College English” which tortured college English students all around the country for many years.

In spite of being surprisingly klutzy at times, Bill enjoyed playing sports throughout his early years, starting with Little League and moving on to basketball, football, baseball, and hockey. Of course, the surprisingly klutzy part led to him being injured repeatedly in every sport except, of all things, hockey, where he may be the only goalie in history to still have all his teeth.

He married the love of his life, Carol Ann Neal, July 13, 1963 and they welcomed their daughter Kim on May 24, 1964. Stop counting. The math works just fine.

Bill enjoyed numerous hobbies throughout his long and full life, including philately, numismatics, dancing, antique-hunting, listening to 50’s and 60’s music (even the not-so-good tunes), playing hysterically funny (and eventually drunken) card games with Carol and great friends Marylou and Roy, and most recently was extremely proud to have achieved the rank of Corythosaur as a member of the top-ten FunTrivia team TriviaBiz. He also created over 300 truly enjoyable quizzes on the Fun Trivia site.

Traveling with Carol and their wonderful friends Paul, Linda, and Sandy brought Bill much pleasure (and at least a million photographs). The National Parks were some of his favorite destinations, though he also enjoyed a simple scenic drive with the top down on the convertible, his remaining few hairs blowing in the wind.

He was many things to many people:

- a college professor whose classes were always full
- a grievance officer whose decisions were always fair
- an administrator whose actions uplifted a college until it became a university
- a loving and devoted husband to Carol, his soulmate
- the best big brother his sister Martha could ever have wished for
- a funny, quirky, grumpy, loveable father, grandfather, brother-in-law, and friend

Bill leaves behind Carol, his loving and oh so patient wife of 57 years; daughter and son-in-law Kim and Shannon Gillen; grandson Sean Gillen; sister and husband Martha and Wes Jerome; and numerous much-loved in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded by his parents, grandparents, and sister Marjorie Jean Mahaney.

Bill was an all-around wonderful man, great at so many things he did in life… except maybe plumbing. He has joined some of his great friends who went before him, and for the rest of you, he says “no hurry – we’ll leave a light on for you.”

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