A VALLEY NATIVE
One reason McMahon may care so much for the Imperial Valley is because he is a native.
McMahon was born in El Centro in 1949 after his parents, the late Dr. William McMahon, a dentist, and the late Sally McMahon moved to the Valley. In fact, you could say he was born into Kiwanis as his father was a member. One of the few Kiwanis meetings his father ever missed came on the day McMahon was born.
McMahon was raised in the Imperial Valley and graduated from Central Union High School in 1968. His wife, also an Imperial Valley native, explains that she met him while they were in high school, but she didn’t care for him much then.
“He was such a jokester — a clown,” she remembers. “He was always clowning around.”
It wasn’t until 10 years later that they met again, and this time Sharon decided to give him a chance. They started dating Sept. 2, 1977, and were married Dec. 17, 1977.
But long before that, after high school, McMahon left the Valley and started working in tires in Los Angeles. He later moved to San Diego where he continued to work in tires for Goodyear.
At that time he was just beginning what would be a long career — one he still is a part of and loves, according to friends and family — in the tire industry. Eventually he transferred to a Goodyear shop in Brawley and then became store manager of the Kennedy’s for Tires store on Imperial Avenue in El Centro.
Friends and colleagues will tell you McMahon is the consummate professional. He knows his stuff, both when it comes to tires and general automobile care and when it comes to customer service.
This former Imperial Valley Press reporter had the opportunity on many occasions to interview McMahon when the Press was doing special editions on vehicle and tire safety. Without hesitation, when the newspaper had a question about tires, it sought out information from McMahon.
He is just that knowledgeable.
Mike McNeece, a longtime friend and fellow Kiwanis member, says Mike McMahon loves to be there for his customers.
“He is very customer oriented,” McNeece adds. “He is always about taking care of the hospitality.”
McNeece says whether McMahon is serving the needs of customers at his place of business or serving the needs of the community through events like the earthquake victims barbecue, he is so engaged because this community is a part of him.
“This is his roots,” McNeece notes. “It’s the community he was brought up in, and it’s the community he wants to give back to.”
Roberta Burns, another friend and president of the Kiwanis Club of El Centro, agrees, stating: “What I discovered about Mike is that he is always willing to give to the community. He is a great fundraiser, and he uses his skills to help charities.”
There’s another aspect of his life that any article about him would be remiss if it did not address, and that is … McMahon as a family man.
He and his wife have been married 32 years, and she says he has always been loving and caring toward his family. She adds he has never been a lazy man, whether it involves work at the store or involves helping around the house.
“My husband even sews,” Sharon says, adding that in his years as a scoutmaster if any of his scouts needed a patch sewed onto their uniform, and their parents could not do it, he would handle the sewing duties.
McMahon is also enjoying his time as a grandfather.
His son Michael Joseph and wife Shannon have two children, 3-year-old Michael Shamus and 5-month-old Talitha Victoria. To his grandson, McMahon is known as Grandpa String Cheese because the little boy loves string cheese and his grandfather always brings him some during visits.
Sharon sums up her husband, saying that in the end he is a happy individual who enjoys talking to people, visiting with people and he would do anything to help those in his community.
“Anything he could do to better the community he would if it was within his power,” she adds.