Dewey H. McMahanStarted oil companyDewey H. McMahan, who...

March 30, 1994

Dewey H. McMahan

Started oil company

Dewey H. McMahan, who operated a Talbot County oil company, died Saturday of kidney failure at the Memorial Hospital at Easton. He was 95.

He joined the Sinclair Oil Co. in 1933 as the firm's Delmarva sales representative and worked there until 1949 when he became associated with the American Oil Co. and established McMahan Oil Co. in Easton. Although semi-retired since 1993 because of diabetes, which cost him both legs, he was chairman of the board of his company at the time of his death.

"Even though he had been a double-amputee for 10 years, was legally blind and deaf, he never lost his sense of humor or desire to try and be in control of things," said his daughter, Irma M. Miller of Easton. "He took care of things to the last minute and was only planning his funeral last week. He didn't sit and dwell on his condition; rather, he tried to be an example.

"He loved working, and his only other interest for many years was what he called 'farming,' not gardening," Mrs. Miller said with a chuckle. "He planted his okra and tomatoes and he was enormously proud of both of them."

Mr. McMahan was born in 1898 at Old Hopewell, Cleburne County, Ala., and after attending public schools was sent to Snead Seminary by his parents.

"He hated it there and ran away and never finished school," Mrs. Miller said.

A succession of jobs followed. He worked as a steelworker, clerked in a general store and worked as a warehouseman for Gulf Oil Co. In 1924, he moved to Clearwater, Fla., where he opened a Willis-Knight-Overland automobile agency that closed after the 1929 stock market crash. He then moved to Atlanta and worked as an appliance salesman before joining Sinclair Oil.

Active in civic affairs, he served a four-year term in the 1960s as president of the Easton Town Council and in 1954 was a member of the Talbot County School Board.

Mr. McMahan was a past president of the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce and the Easton Elks Club and was the oldest member of the Easton Rotary Club. From 1962 to 1968, he was on the board of Memorial Hospital and for many years was active in the United Fund of Talbot County.

A well-known storyteller, he enjoyed recounting how, when he was 3, he heard the news from his father of President William McKinley's assassination in 1901, and about nearly dying in the 1918 influenza epidemic.

In 1929, he married the former Irma R. Jones, who died in 1940. His second marriage, in 1943 to the former Jane O'Dell Amoss, ended in divorce.

An active churchman, he was a communicant at Christ Episcopal Church, where he had been a member of the vestry and senior warden.

Services were set for 2 p.m. today at Christ Church in Easton with interment in Spring Hill Cemetery.

He is survived by four other daughters, Sue M. Ricketson of Santa Rosa, Calif., Anne M. Hindiyeh of Petaluma, Calif., Myrtis M. Messenger of Ellicott City and Page McMahan of Orleans, Mass.; a sister, Myrtis Hansen of Carson City, Nev.; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Maryland Affiliate Inc. of the American Diabetes Association, 2 Reservoir Circle, Baltimore, or to the Talbot Hospice Foundation, 100 S. Hanson St., Easton 21601.

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