Obituaries / The Rev. John Mohoney, 71, Parish Priest and Military Chaplain

By Alfonso A. Castillo
Newsday [New York]
June 29, 2000

The Rev. John Mahoney, a priest who had served Long Island parishes, died June 4 from heart failure at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. The Long Beach native and Korean and Vietnam War veteran was 71.

Mahoney grew up in Long Beach, the son of James Mahoney, a Long Beach police lieutenant. He graduated from Long Beach High School in the late 1940s and moved to Boston, where he attended St. Philip Neri School. He received a bachelor's degree in English from Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., in 1950.

In 1951, Mahoney enlisted in the Army during the Korean War. The experience of serving in the infantry helped Mahoney find his calling in life, said his brother James Mahoney Jr. of Ridge.

Mahoney entered Our Lady of Angels Seminary at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y., in 1956. After four years of studying Catholic theology, Mahoney was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on May 28, 1960.

"He was very dedicated to the church and to his thoughts," his brother said. "I think it was a mature decision to go into the seminary."

Mahoney served as priest at St. Rosalie's Church in Hampton Bays and later at Corpus Christi Church in Mineola, where he spent much of his time visiting the poor and sick in hospitals and shelters.

Mahoney's years spent in the Army helped him realize the special need for spiritual guidance in the military during war, his brother said. In 1966 during the Vietnam War, Mahoney enlisted in the Air Force.

"The whole country was in conflict and he felt there might be a need for him someplace like that," his brother said. "Those of us who knew him knew this was his way of life. Where there was the need was where he wanted to go."

As a captain and chaplain for the Air Force, Mahoney served in such countries as Greenland, Panama and Taiwan.

He retired from the Air Force in 1984 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Following his retirement, Mahoney lived at the Assumption Rectory of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Peekskill, where he occasionally said mass and visited other churches to offer his services.

Mahoney also spent his latter years pursuing his other passion-the fine arts. Mahoney enjoyed visiting museums and theaters whenever possible.

In addition to his brother, Mahoney is survived by a sister, Mildred Stiffler of Greensboro, Ga.; three nieces and five nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated June 7 at the Assumption Church, followed by burial at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.


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