Seamus McMahon often was struck with inspiration in the middle of the night. He would scribble his thoughts and fax them to his daughter in the morning.
It was Adele Viger's role to decipher the scrawl, type it and send it back to him for editing. Mr. McMahon, author of several books, also contributed to the Buffalo Irish Times as well as Everybody's Column in The Buffalo News.
Some letters to the editor were signed Seamus McMahon and others with his given name, James G. McMahon. Seamus is the Gaelic version of James.
"I think when he was really mad he would put 'James' to sound official, and when it was a happy one, he would put 'Seamus,' " Viger said.
Mr. McMahon, a native of Ireland who had owned an insurance appraising business in Buffalo, died Saturday in Absolut Care rehabilitation center in East Aurora. He was 89.
Mr. McMahon served in the Irish army during World War II and lived in Australia and Canada before settling in Buffalo with his first wife, Ellen, and their two children in the early 1950s.
He founded Jim McMahon Co., an independent appraiser of farm, marine and heavy equipment. He retired in 2005. Prior to forming the company, he was associated with the Hartford Insurance Co. and Underwriters Adjustment Co., a subsidiary of Continental Insurance Agency.
Mr. McMahon was a member of the Gaelic American Club; Division I, Ancient Order of Hibernians; and the Knights of Equity, which gave him a lifetime achievement award in 2004. He and his wife of 35 years, the former Anne Hofmayr, received the "Unsung Heroes Award" from St. Patrick's Irish American Club in 2007.
He served as a trustee on the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library board and was involved in various other committees, including the Citizens Review Salary Commission. He worked as a volunteer on the campaigns of former Mayor Jimmy Griffin.
Mr. McMahon celebrated his Irish heritage through Irish Ceili set dancing with his wife. He also wrote several books, which gave an account of his immigration to the United States as well as amusing snippets and tales of his early years growing up in Ireland. His works include "Memories Rekindled," "Seamus' Tales" and "Odyssey of an Irish Immigrant."
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by a son, David.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. today in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Parkside and Parker avenues.