Donald Mahan, 80, home builder

May 03, 2006

Donald Mahan, a retired Harford County home builder and business owner, died of cancer April 26 at Coast Hospice in Stewart, Fla. The former Hebbville resident was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised on St. Paul Street in Charles Village, he was a 1943 graduate of McDonogh School. Family members said he played varsity lacrosse and rode horses in the school's equestrian program.

During World War II, he served in the Army Air Forces in a unit that spotted downed fliers. Mr. Mahan once observed, and his crew rescued, a downed flier who was bobbing in moonlit waves in the Atlantic Ocean. Mr. Mahan attained the rank of sergeant.

He later joined the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Air Force Crash Rescue Boat Association.

After the war attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and he remained a lifelong Terps sports fan.

In the late 1940s, he joined a family business, the Log Cabin Candy Company in Baltimore, and worked with his father for several years.

In the 1950s, he sold and built homes in Harford County, including parts of the Madonna Manor, Steeplechase Manor and Sutton Manor developments. He also owned a real estate business, Mahan Realty.

In the 1970s, he started an Ocean City mortgage business and owned and operated a Fenwick Island, Del., seafood carryout. In 1981, he opened the Blue Bayou Restaurant on Wicomico Street in Ocean City, which featured a Louisiana-inspired menu.

A member of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, he bred and raced thoroughbreds and enjoyed wagering at Maryland tracks.

"He was a pretty good handicapper," said a son, Mark C. Mahan of Annapolis. "He had taken animal husbandry at McDonogh and knew how a horse was supposed to walk."

A memorial service was held Saturday in Palm City, Florida.

Survivors also include his wife of 54 years, the former Dorothy E. May; another son, Jeffrey S. Mahan of Annapolis; and a grandson.

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