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James McMahonProfessor of German at Emory

James McMahon, Professor of German at Emory for 36 years, died February 14, 2016 in Green Valley, Arizona. A native of Buffalo, New York, he held an undergraduate degree from St. Bonaventure University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin. He taught many different classes at Emory, but his speciality was medieval languages, literature, and music. He authored many articles and one book, The Music of Early Minnesang.

Two Emory faculty remember his contributions to the department and university:

Marianne Lancaster: “Jim was a real gentleman and I enjoyed working with him from 1991 to 2000. He directed the first half of our summer study abroad in Vienna - even after his retirement - when asked to help out. On campus, he stood out as a tall, slender man in his sunhat. He enjoyed learning, was calm, patient and spoke in a soft voice. He loved music and medieval times, and his door was always open for people with questions.”

Viola Westbrook: “Jim warmly welcomed me into the Emory German Department in 1967 and until his generous words from afar some 40 years later at my retirement, he has been a genuine inspiration and friend to me. The marvelous richness of his knowledge – especially of course in the area of medieval scholarship - were a continuous gift to us all, colleagues and students alike. In difficult times he proved to be a very insightful and effective leader and peacemaker. His understanding and fairness always seemed to prevail in the end and accomplish the best results for all concerned. And yet, the characteristic that perhaps I cherished the most about Jim was his gentle humanity. It defined his being throughout his life.”

Jim is survived by his wife, Ann; his sons Christopher, Mark, and Stephen; his granddaughter, Sophia McMahon, and sisters, Ann McMahon and Joan Fridmann. He was 78 years old.