Peter Anthony McMahon died of Covid and other complications on 9 February 2021 at Whipps Cross hospital in London. For two years, he had been a resident at the Harts House care home in Woodford Green, Essex. His wife Alice Vaz McMahon pre-deceased him in 2016. She was Portuguese from the city of Porto and he was adored by her extended family. Peter is survived by his son Anthony and daughter Marie Jacqueline as well as his sister Marie Loreto Murphy.
After his wife – Alice Vaz McMahon – passed away in 2016, he and his son worked diligently on Ancestry.com doing the family tree. Peter had been researching the genealogy for many years and was something of an amateur historian. With the onset of dementia, it was a great way to keep his mind alert and he launched into the project with enthusiasm. He was particularly keen to form a familial connection with Colonel Blood, who attempted to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London in the 17th century.
Peter had umpteen files of information on the McMahon, McEnhill and Mullen families going back two centuries. His photographic memory also helped link us to the huge McMahon family network in the United States. He was very pleased to make contact via Skype with the grandson of his grandmother’s sister who had emigrated to the US in the early 20th century. They shared many physical Mullen characteristics, especially in their facial features and hands.
Peter was born in Pettigo, a town famously split between Northern Ireland and the Republic. He held Irish nationality all his life and spent his childhood and youth south of the border. But most of the family are still in county Tyrone, part of the United Kingdom. His father Felix was a state forester and his mother Norma was a teacher. Peter began a veterinary science degree but left and became a probation officer in London, eventually working at the Central Criminal Court advising judges on sentencing.
He was educated at Blackrock college and at some point, bust his nose playing rugby. This meant that when he smoked one nostril would produce a whisper of smoke while the other ejected a big blue plume. He held on to his school reports all his life.
Peter and Alice were big collectors of all kinds of ephemera and never happier than when trawling car boot sales in the home counties with their friends Robert and Carmen. The sizeable Edwardian house they owned for over fifty years in Woodford Green, Essex groaned under the weight of furniture, antiques, books and other items. Peter was also a massive DIY fan and built a vast work station at the bottom of his long garden where he undertook various projects, especially helping his children to renovate their new homes.
A kind and generous man who will be missed by all who knew him.