David Hugh McMahon of Smith Mountain Lake (formerly Lynchburg), passed away at the age of 78 with his wife of 27 years at his side, holding his hand. Dave was dedicated to his wife Yvonne, his four children, and to his career as a lawyer.
Born in Iowa, Dave grew up in Cincinnati and was the eldest son of the late Charles and Helen Sarah McMahon. He was preceded in death by his sister Maggie Acker and his brothers Jim and Doug McMahon.
He is survived by his four children, Gretchen (Jim) of Lynchburg, Megan of Gloucester, VA, Matt of Orem, UT, and Mitch of Arlington, VA. He is also survived by his grandson Kohl of Lynchburg, VA, his sister Connie (Eugene) of The Villages, FL, his brothers, Russ (Jenny) of Cincinnati, OH, Andy (Diana) of Van Wert, OH, Bill (Karen) of Ada, MI, and Michael (Debbie) of Trego, MT.
Dave was a 1964 graduate of Xavier University. He earned his Juris Doctor of Law from the University of Cincinnati in 1967 and a Master of Laws from George Washington University in 1972.
Dave served in the Central Intelligence Agency from 1967 until 1974, with a tour in the U.S. Air Force as well.
He began his career at First Colony Life Insurance Company in 1974 as an attorney. As a key member of First Colony’s leadership team, Dave played a major role in making the company an innovative industry leader, even pioneering new markets such as the use of annuities to settle personal injury lawsuits. After almost 40 years of shepherding the company through its growth and becoming a part of Genworth Financial, Dave retired in 2014 as a Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel (and beloved company historian). During the 1980s, Dave also engaged in private practice with the firm of McRorie, Kirstein & McMahon. Dave and Bill McRorie are remembered for wearing their green jackets and throwing St. Patrick’s Day parties at their office on Court Street.
Dave is most notably remembered for handling company litigation and for his institutional knowledge of insurance law. He was a prolific writer and editor, contributing just the right words or suggestions on every issue big and small, writing very convincing legal arguments. Those who knew him describe him as a lawyer with an even-keeled approach, coolness under pressure, strategic, respectful, and a true gentleman who was loyal, dignified, and conducted himself with the utmost integrity.
In addition to his key company roles, Dave also played important leadership roles in the industry by serving as Director and Chairman of the National Organization of Life and Health Guaranty Association from 1997 through 2002. He also served on the Board of Virginia Life, Accident & Sickness Insurance Guaranty Association, the Delaware Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association, the North Carolina Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association, and the South Carolina Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association. Locally, Dave served on the board of the McGurk Retirement Community for over ten years.
During the 1970s, Dave was intimately involved in the Virginia 10 Miler road race. Representing First Colony Life Insurance Company, Dave was treasurer of the race and enjoyed handing out awards and prize money to the winners. Notable runners included Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter, an Olympic champion. Dave and Yvonne participated in the 10 Miler the morning of their wedding.
Dave enjoyed attending his children’s sports activities, including lacrosse games, swim meets, and horse shows. Dave traveled throughout his life and lived in Tanzania, where his first daughter, Gretchen, was born. Dave often talked fondly of his safaris in East Africa. He also traveled to Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. He was an avid hiker and runner. He hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and with his family, hiked through the Grand Canyon as well as Yellowstone, Glacier, Bryce, the Everglades, and Sequoia national parks.
In retirement Dave enjoyed reading, playing cards with his family, and going for walks at Smith Mountain Lake.
A church service will be held on Friday, June 24, at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Catholic Church, downtown Lynchburg, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Dave’s honor to the Virginia Legal Aid Society, 513 Church Street, Lynchburg VA, 24505.
Tharp Funeral Home in Lynchburg is assisting the family. To send condolences, please visit www.tharpfuneralhome.com.