Perry McMahan

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MOUNT HOREB–Perry McMahan, 73, of Mount Horeb, left this earth on April 7, 2022, after living a full and productive life.

He was born on Jan. 3, 1949, the son of William and Fern (Hamilton) McMahan. He grew up in the Mount Horeb area and graduated from Mount Horeb High School in 1967. Two years later, he was drafted into the US Army and proudly served as a SGT-E5, commandeering a self-propelled 109 mm Howitzer in Vietnam from April 1969 through March 1971.

For 42 years, Perry operated West Side Radiator and Auto Repair in Middleton. He took great pride in keeping heavy field equipment operational for farmers in the Waunakee, Middleton and Mount Horeb area. He also worked with scores of customers over the years to keep their vehicles safe and reliable.

Perry had a natural ability to connect with people; he was a good listener and was easy to talk to. He enjoyed meeting people for the first time and learning about their lives and interests; he also cherished the many friendships he forged over the years with customers, golf buds, Euchre players, pool players, and any number of people he was fortunate to meet along the way.

Family was most important to Perry. He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Eith), his high school sweetheart; a trip to Alaska was planned in June to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in August. With his son and best friend, Preston, the two shared many adventures on and off the golf course at Edelweiss Chalet Country Club in New Glarus and on their annual golf trips to Alabama with the “Zander Boys” and friends. Perry admired Preston’s work ethic but none more so than when Preston built his parents a retirement home seven years ago after losing the original house to fire. The light of his life was his daughter, Heather (Vogel); Perry admired Heather for her dedication to her family and the teaching profession. A fun part to having children is the grandchildren that can follow. Perry was looking forward to seeing Ireland perform for the first time at the upcoming UW Varsity Band Concert. Ryleigh was Grandpa’s golf buddy and the twins, Piper and Perri, are active in swimming. At swim meets, Perry got a kick out of hearing the announcer say, “… and in Lane 3 is Perri McMahan.” Perry’s grandchildren in Colorado were also a source of pride; Tristan supplied Grandpa with an endless array of alien and monster drawings, Grandpa and Ethan would often hit the golf courses in Golden, and Aleah was just pure joy. The family is going to miss “Grandpa’s chicken.”

In addition to his family, Perry had a passion for vintage cars. He had many vehicles over the years, but his favorites were a 1967 restored Chevy El Camino and an original 1964 Thunderbird convertible. Last summer, Perry spent many a day in the T-Bird, tearin’ out of the driveway with the top down and Patsy Cline lamenting about being out “walkin’ after midnight.”

Two years ago, Perry was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis); he faced it head on with strength and resolve. A special thank you to the Veterans Health Administration and Dr. Michael Hansen and the medical team at UW Health for their care and support during this journey.

Perry was predeceased by his father, William McMahan; mother, Fern (Hamilton) McMahan; stepmother, Esther (Parks) McMahan; brother, Thomas McMahan; nephew, Jason McMahan; father-in-law, Arthur J. Eith; mother-in-law, Matilda (Young) Eith; and brother-in-law, Arthur W. Eith.  

He is further survived by his brothers, William McMahan (Deb) and David McMahan (Carol); sisters, Shannon McMahan and Cathy (Mike) Leonard; daughter-in-law, Jennifer McMahan; son-in-law, Zach Vogel; sister-in-law, Lauretta McMahan; sister-in-law, Beth McMahan; brother-in-law, Francis Eith; sister-in-law, Elizabeth (Randy) Peterson; and sister-in-law, Barbara Haase-Eith.

A Celebration of Life is being planned for Perry on June 18, 2022, to be held at the Red Mouse, 3738 County Road P, Pine Bluff, starting at noon. Online condolences may be made at gundersonfh.com.

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