David Ross

President Ross Funeral Directors Inc.


Mahar – David

David Mahar, 83, a lifetime resident of Gasport and Wilson NY, devoted husband, father, grandfather and brother, passed away on January 2, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. He was born on February 20, 1936 in Gasport, NY, and was the son of the late Emmett and Sylvia (Haseley) Mahar.

Dave attended DeSales Catholic School and Cornell University, where he was a member of the Rifle Team and Boxing Club. At Cornell, he enrolled in the ROTC program as a freshman and trained to become an officer. As part of the officer program, he attended the 82nd Airborne School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. His training with the 82nd Airborne was one of the proudest times in his life. Eventually, his love for helicopters led him to the Transportation Corps, where he worked as a Motor Pool Officer, fixing (and flying) H-13 helicopters and other military vehicles. In his words, he “absolutely loved what he was doing”, working on engines and machinery. He could take apart and fix any engine put in front of him. After his discharge, he enlisted in the Army Reserves, and served as a First Lieutenant at Camp Drum for many summers.

On August 19, 1967, he married Mary Ann O’Connor, mother of his four children, who predeceased him in 1979. Although he took a lot of razzing for marrying the boss’s daughter, he enjoyed a wonderful, simple life with Mary Ann and they took pride in their home and their young family. In the years after her passing, Dave worked tirelessly to support his children, and taught them life lessons that helped them develop strong work ethics and a capable approach to life. In 1992, Dave married Joan (Van Arsdale) Hartz, and became a dedicated stepfather to her three sons. Together, Dave and Joan travelled consistently, visiting Europe and significant World War II sites. They spent many wonderful years together as snowbirds, enjoying time in Fort Myers Beach during the winter months.

‘Super Dave’ lived a truly amazing life that was defined by hard work, ingenuity, risk taking and good ‘ole fashioned luck. Dave grew up on Mahar’s Ponderosa in Gasport with his family, where they learned how to make something out of nothing, and built the family farm into a successful business. As a youngster, he was very involved in the 4-H organization and participated in many County and State Fairs, showing livestock. In 1955, at the age of 19, he won the Tractor Operators Contest at the New York State Fair. (This was one of Dave’s favorite memories to recall, as he had a thorough plan for exactly how to beat his challengers, and he pulled it off, without a hitch.) Leadership was one of the hallmarks of his life, with one of his earliest assignments being named the President of the Chapman Road Chipmunks 4-H Club in 1954. In 1963, Dave went to work for his future father in-law, Holman O’Connor, at Lakeside Farms in Ransomville, as manager for the large dairy, vegetable and fruit farm. Dave learned the business ropes from Holman and eventually started working at Frontier Stone, another one of Holman’s enterprises, in 1969. Although he knew very little about the stone business, he was a quick study and ascended the ranks quickly, developing a true passion and knack for quarrying. While at Frontier, Dave had the good fortune of being teamed up with co-workers Bob Pass and Chuck Loiacano. After the quarry was sold and changed hands several times, the three decided to risk it all and become business partners, purchasing it from Genstar in 1983. Surrounded by excellent people, they ran the quarry successfully until selling it to Redland in 1997.

Dave loved to host big, family parties. In the early years, there were chicken barbeques with his brother Fran serving as the head cook, tending to a homemade grill and entertaining guests with his embellished stories. In the later years, parties were centered around Father’s Day, with white hots (much to Jay’s dismay) and ribs cooked on a grill by Dave himself. Corn parties were held each August, with everyone celebrating (and shucking) the first batches of local sweet corn. Even though Dave was an avid hunter back in the day, he eventually had a change of heart and liked feeding leftovers to the wildlife in his back yard, especially the beautiful red foxes. He loved to take pictures of everything and anything, and thankfully his life is well documented in an endless supply of photo albums. He was especially proud of his Jacobsen mower and lush, green lawn, always tinkering and experimenting with both. A World War II enthusiast, Dave read countless books on the subject and was especially fond of General George Patton. He took up golf mid-life and like his other endeavors, worked at the game diligently, achieving several triumphs including “Low Amateur” at the Frontier Stone Open, and MVP of several winning teams in the prestigious “Huey Cup”. As comfortable in work boots and overalls, as in a shirt and tie, he could plant corn in the morning and cut a big business deal in the afternoon. A member of St. Brendan on the Lake parish, Dave was a devoted Catholic who lived a humble life and gave generously to others. He was a mentor to countless people, helping to shape and change lives for the better, paying forward the gift of wisdom that others had given to him. Although his time with them was cut short, Dave loved being with his grandkids and recounting stories of his limitless (sometimes unbelievable) adventures. Dave’s impact on his family and the community will be significant and long-lasting.

Dave is survived by his wife Joan (Van Arsdale) Mahar; children Maureen Mahar, Michael (Trisha) Mahar, John (Maggie) Mahar and Meg (Craig) Thrall; step-children Bob (Lauren) Hartz, Jim Hartz and Mike Hartz; grandchildren Mitch, Ben, Evan, Jack, Berlyn, Max, Spencer, Eli, Emma, Josh and Landon; siblings Jim (Pauline) Mahar, Linda McDonough and Larry Mahar, and several in-laws, nieces and nephews. In addition to his late wife Mary Ann and his parents, he was predeceased by brothers William Mahar and Francis (Maryann) Mahar.

Visitation Monday, January 6th from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at Hamilton and Clark Funeral Home in Wilson. Funeral Services will be held at 11 AM on Tuesday, January 7th at St. Brendan on the Lake in the village of Wilson. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (roswellpark.org/giving/donate) or Niagara Hospice (www.niagarahospice.org). Dave benefitted greatly during his medical care from blood platelet donations… if you are interested, please consider helping others by donating platelets (https://tinyurl.com/ybxpotnh).