Fishing 06

John L McMahon

October 5, 1942 ~ December 17, 2020 (age 78)


John L. McMahon, 78, of Newton died on Thursday, December 17, 2020, at Unity Point Iowa Methodist Medical Center.  No services are scheduled at this time.  A celebration of John's life will happen in the spring with a fishing and picnic day. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa or the HERO (Healing at English River Outfitters) camp in southeast Iowa, a camp created by veterans for veterans. Memorials may be left at the Wallace Family Funeral Home and Crematory.

John, the son of Guy and Verna (Schaffner) McMahon, was born on October 5, 1942 in Boone. He grew up in Boone and graduated from Boone High School. John served his country in the U.S. Navy from 1962-1966 and completed two tours in Vietnam. John was a man of many talents and his passion led him to various career moves through his life. Following his time in the service, John worked in law enforcement. First in Boone as a Sergeant for the Iowa Police Department, and then after a short stint as a Claims Representative and District Supervisor for Grinnell Mutual in Northwest Iowa, as a Reserve Deputy, Magistrate Judge, and Civil Defense Director in Ida County. Following that, John moved to Wyoming where he would serve as a Municipal Judge, Sheriff, and Chief of Police in Newcastle.  John’s love has always been the outdoors and during his time in Wyoming he was able to be a hunting guide for 15 years.  In 1991, John returned to Iowa and once again worked for Grinnell Mutual as the Director of Special Investigations, specializing in Arson Investigation, and then as the Director of Security. During his time at Grinnell Mutual he was able to speak and instruct fire departments, law enforcement, and insurance groups around the Midwest. 

John was united in marriage with Gail Geery in June of 2007 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua. After his retirement in 2009, John never planned on sitting still so he continued to work part-time at Bass Pro, Hy-Vee, and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.  At Bass Pro, he was on the pro staff where his passion for kids and teaching allowed him to be involved in many seminars and events on the correct and ethical approach to hunting, fishing, and conservation. 

John was continuously active and walked every day of the year up until three weeks before his death.  The dogs on his walking route will miss him dearly as he knew each by name and had a treat for them in his pocket. He was also an active senior sportsman; enjoying hunting and fishing. John loved to smile and make people laugh with a good joke. 

John is survived by his wife, Gail McMahon of Newton; son Michael (Debbie) McMahon of Butte, MT; daughter, Michelle (Marc) Hein of Sioux City; grandchildren, Marissa McMahon (Tim Shenk), Mikalya (Mike) Lewis, Levi, Logan, & Luke McMahon, Brady Riessen, Shaina Riessen (Jordan Pojar), Remington (Jordan) Hein, and Kaley Hein; great-grandchildren, Devin, Ethan, Jaide, Ruthie, Zoey, Abbigale, Alice, and Hayden; granddaughter-in-law, Courtney Riessen;  a special son, Lyle (Carolyn) German and his sons, Lyle, Jr. and Jacob; many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great-great-nieces and nephews and many beloved extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, MaryAnn Guadagnoli; and a grandson, Gavin Riessen. 

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