Bernard James Patrick McMahon, age 90, of Pittsfield passed away peacefully at his home on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 after a period of declining health.
He was born in Clifton Heights, PA; an identical twin son of the late Francis and Lorraine (Filio) McMahon. His family moved to Pittsfield when he was a young boy. He graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1950.
Immediately following graduation; Bernard, his twin brother Francis Patrick, and all the members of the Wahconah baseball team joined the US Navy together on January 9, 1951. Bernie spent every moment of his three years, ten months and one day working for the freedoms of our nation. Although there are countless stories he told over the years, one of his proudest moments was when he and another sailor were able to ensure the safety of nearly 300 shipmates after a catastrophic fire caused by a fuel leak. He also served on a mission to bring the USS Massachusetts safely into its current port in Newport, Rhode Island.
A majority of Bernie’s time in the Navy was served aboard the USS San Pablo where he earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Navy Occupational Service Medal.
During his time in the military, Bernie married the former Barbara Gerhardt on September 27, 1952 while home on leave. He was honorably discharged on November 9, 1954 and he returned home in time for the birth of his first daughter.
Upon his return home, he began working for Eaton Paper as a print maker. He worked for them for 32 years until their closure in 1987.
Bernie was a skilled cartoonist. For much of his career at Eaton, he created the cover of the monthly union newsletter “Paperscope”.
He then went on to work for Canyon Ranch for about 5 years where he “met all the famous people”. He loved to share the stories of all the people he interacted with over the years.
Bernie was a talented musician, playing his favorite instrument, the tenor saxophone at the former French Club every Saturday night for over ten years.
Bernie used his artistic abilities further and volunteered much of his time with the Parks Department to design and build the annual floats for the 4th of July Parade representing Lebanon Avenue Park. Barb and Bernie also coordinated trips to Mountain Park in Holyoke for the park children.
Summers in the McMahon family were spent on Lake Ashmere in the one room cottage built by hand by Bernie, his brother and his brothers-in-law. As a father to three girls, he did everything in his power to make sure they grew up in a place he was proud of. He loved to have fun and ensured those around him were also having a good time.
He was a lifelong member of the Elks club, earning Elk of the Year in the 90’s. He was also very involved with the VFW and the American Legion. Veterans’ organizations were important to him, and he often donated his time and funds to helping soldiers get back on their feet.
Bernie is survived by his beloved daughters, Bernadette McMahon of Williamstown, Brenda Whiteaker and her husband Darrell of Austin, TX, and Barbara Scace and her husband Dan of Pittsfield, his grandsons, David Whiteaker of Dallas, TX, and Michael Whiteaker and his wife Maeghan of Anna, TX, and his great-grandchildren, Caleb “Finn” and Amilya Whiteaker, also of Anna, TX.
In addition to his wife Barbara who died in 2006, Bernie was predeceased by his twin brother Francis Patrick McMahon and his sister Dolores Phillips. Uncle Bernie also leaves many other nieces, nephews and cousins.
SERVICES: Close friends and family are invited to join us on TUESDAY, June 1st at the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home beginning at 9am. There will be a funeral home service at 10am celebrated by Rev. Peter A. Gregory, Pastor Emeritus of St. Charles Church. Burial with full military honors will immediately follow at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. The family wishes to invite you all to join them for a memorial reception at the Elk's Club at 27 Union Street in Pittsfield following committal services.
We kindly ask that anyone attending services, please follow the rules in place by the Commonwealth to continue wearing masks if you have not been fully vaccinated or as you feel necessary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made payable to “Pittsfield Elks Lodge #272" and mailed to the funeral home at 40 Maplewood Ave. Pittsfield, MA 01201.