Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Shawn C. Mcmahon touched down in Binghamton, NY on June 6, 1968, and flew back through the Pearly Gates to the Celestial Lodge above on May 28th, 2023. He logged a lot of hours, miles and memories in between.
He is survived by his beloved family; his wife Diane; his mother Margery McMahon; his children Caelan, Liam and Tara McMahon; step-son Alex Nesbitt; his brothers Michael P and Patrick J. McMahon; niece and nephews Susie, Michael and Jonathon McMahon; along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends and his beloved Goldendoodle Lola. He was predeceased by his father Robert McMahon; brother Robert McMahon and step-son Adam Nesbitt.
He was born the 3rd son of Bob and Marge, and spent his childhood terrorizing Colfax Ave, Woodrow Wilson, and First Ward Park. When he was 11, the family moved to Robinson St, and he started attending East Junior, where he met the love of his life, and future wife, Diane Squires, although it would be a few decades before that happened. Shawn entered Binghamton High School in 1982 and was in the first full graduating class of that newly merged high school. While at BHS, Shawn discovered one of the great passions of his life when he took a photography class, and discovered he had a knack for it. Shawn made many friends during his school years across the town, including his fraternity brothers in Lambda Sigma, many of whom are still his lifelong friends. When Ronald Reagan was running for re-election in 1984, he made a campaign stop at UE’s Ty Cobb Stadium, and in a bit of foreshadowing, Shawn grabbed his camera, joined the masses there and was able to take a few pics of the President. Shawn played football his entire youth and has the honor and distinction of being a member of the 1985 Binghamton Patriots Football Team that went undefeated and won the NY State Football Championship and ranked amongst the top 20 in the country. It was the first, and only time the Patriots won the State Championship in football.
After graduating High School, Shawn enlisted in the Navy, and was sent to Great Lakes for basic training. Shawn did well enough in basic to be asked to try out for the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard in Washington DC and was sent there for further training. This duty came with White House Clearance, known as “Yankee White” which required a thorough background check, and Secret Service agents coming to Binghamton to interview family, neighbors, friends, and teachers. Shawn passed with flying colors, and proudly became a member of the Navy Ceremonial Guard. Members of the Navy Ceremonial Guard participate in some of our Nation’s most prestigious ceremonies, including Presidential inaugurations and arrival for Foreign Officials. In addition, the Navy Ceremonial Guard serves as the funeral escort and conducts all services for Navy Personnel buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Amazingly, during his distinguished service in the Ceremonial Guard, the Navy found itself in need of a photographer at the White House. As Shawn had been an amateur photo bug since high school, and was already in possession of White House Clearance, he volunteered for the duty, and was accepted. During his time at the White House, Shawn took pics and was in the room and shot pictures of Ronald Reagan, George H Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ollie North, Richard Marcinko , Tom Clancy and other luminaries and dignitaries as the Cold War ended and the USSR crumbled. These were incredibly historic times, and Shawn was in the room.
When his time in Washington was up, he was reassigned to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico. In addition to his various photographic duties, he was running the lab that was processing the recon film gathered before the Panama Invasion. He also worked closely with the DEA and Coast Guard running surveillance intercepting boats loaded with drugs heading to the US. Sometimes, the Coast Guard would even let him come along on the ride. It could be said he played a part in the downfall of Noriega and Escobar, two of the most notorious henchmen of the 20th Century. It was also during this time that Shawn discovered another great love of his life, flying. I suppose you can only watch those F-14's take off for so long before you feel the need to get up there. He took private lessons in his off time, in addition to learning to scuba dive. It was a rather good gig after his time in the Honor Guard. Shawn extended his initial enlistment period and served an extra year, but luckily was honorably discharged before the Gulf War escalation. Shawn was extremely proud of his time in the United States Navy and stayed active in the VA and American Legion Post 1290 after his service.
Once his time in the Navy was up, Shawn spent some time tearing up NYC hanging with his big brother Bob (RIP) and the crew at Smith & Wollensky’s and other assorted and various famous houses of ill repute. Eventually, he settled back in Binghamton, first back at the family ranch on Robinson, and then home to the First Ward, where he could often be seen cruising around in his beloved Volkswagen Beetle. Shawn worked as a chauffeur for a while, specializing in NYC runs because he knew his way around the city, and eventually worked his way to owning his own limo company. He was also putting himself through flight school in Cortland at that time. After a while, he found his true calling as a financial advisor and went to work for himself. He married, and moved to the Upper East side of Binghamton, where he resided for the rest of his life. During this time, he became a father to the three joys of his life, Caelan, Liam and Tara. Shawn was a devoted father and could often be spotted at parks, football games, wrestling and swim meets. To further his business, he started setting up annually at The Harford Fair. It was there where he ran into some gentleman that would introduce him to his next great pursuit in life, Freemasonry. Shawn had been custom made for the craft and its principles of brotherly love, charity and honesty. He became a member of Windsor Lodge 442 and was raised a Master Mason in May 2004. Shawn was active in his lodge and was created a Shriner in 2006. He was so proud of his membership in these organizations and was due to be installed as Worshipful Master of Windsor Lodge for the coming year. Shawn didn’t just recite the words and obligations, he lived them, and they lived through him. His example inspired and brought other good men into the Lodge.
As the kids grew up, and Shawn found himself with more time, he wanted to return to his love of flying. After a lengthy hiatus, he had to lose the dad bod to do this, and he once again demonstrated his discipline and commitment by getting his pilots license renewed. He loved being up there. He’d go any chance he could. It was his happy place. Shawn had always kept busy and proficient as a photographer and had entered and won awards at many shows. Shawn was incredibly committed to his art. He would never, ever, let anyone else develop his film, and always kept a darkroom in his homes. It wasn’t long before he combined his passions and started taking aerial photos. Most of these photos were of Binghamton, and he loved the unique vision he could give you of it. You have probably seen his work online, hanging locally and at various craft and arts fairs in the area. The images he left us were a window into his world and soul, and we will cherish them forever. In March 2022, Shawn took a job as a jump pilot working for a skydiving outfit, and he was beyond thrilled to be able to get paid to do what he loved best, soaring above the clouds. Unfortunately, Shawn took his last flight on Sunday, May 28th, 2023. While details and facts are few at this time, I can tell you that there was an engine problem of some sort around 12,000ft and he wasn’t going to be able to make it back to the airstrip, so he headed for a field, and he just didn’t quite make it. He was in control of the plane until the very end, and he had a parachute on. Of course, he wasn’t going to leave the plane to go where it would. Not Shawn, a man whose life had been defined by duty and service to others, he made sure no one else was in harm’s way.
Shawn was a man of many talents, passions and sides. He was a loving father to his children, and to his wife Diane. He took them on many adventures. He grew up fishing with his father and passed that legacy onto his children. He cherished time with his family and his friends. He was an avid hunter, the monster 10 pointer on his wall stands as a testament to so many cold mornings and hours in the woods. He loved the solitude and beauty of the forest. He was an artist with an incredible eye for detail and a unique perspective of the world around him. He was a patriot that served his country with distinction, proudly and faithfully. He would suffer no insult to the flag, or his beloved United States. He was a small business owner, his own boss and valued honesty and transparency in all dealings. You knew where you stood with him. He was a Mason and gave his time and energy freely to the craft. He embodied all its principles, and He could often be seen manning the griddle at the monthly breakfast. He loved his Genessee beer, as his father did. He was a purist about his wings. Frank’s Red Hot and butter only and don’t ever bread them. He loved cooking and putting on his annual Christmas Eve Feast. He loved a good sip of Bourbon or Rye and a cigar on his porch, or next to his woodstoves. He loved his walks through his hometown, especially the First Ward with its old factories and faded charms. He loved music, playing and listening to it. His musical tastes were varied and eclectic, but his #1 was The Rolling Stones, and he was fortunate to see them many times over several decades and time zones. He combined his love of the band with his love for adventure and traveled through Europe and the States to see them with his friends and family. He even took his sweetheart Diane to Vegas, had Elvis marry them, and the Stones play the reception! He played and collected guitars throughout his life. He loved his strats and his teles. In recent years he had put a band together and was recording and playing gigs around town at Abel’s, The Belmar and Porchfest. He was incredibly happy to be able to be playing his original music to people.
Shawn was a true raconteur and lover of life. A man most happy on the backroads and byways. He loved Americana and small-town charm. He loved the holidays, the gold of Autumn, and the white of Winter He was fiercely individual and stubborn. He was never wavering in his beliefs or his values, and though he left a huge hole in our lives and our hearts are heavy, his Christian faith and his Masonic beliefs gave him comfort knowing this life is just a part of the journey of the eternal soul. I hope it gives you some comfort too. Shawn was many things, but most of all he was Shawn. We will miss him all our days, but I know he will be up there doing recon on us. We are, and always were, in good hands. I will end with this story: One evening at the White House, where Shawn was allowed to wear civilian clothes, he was asked by the late, great author Tom Clancy “What Navy are you in?” Shawn smiled and replied “My Navy” they both laughed. Shawn was one of a kind.
“Fair Winds and following Seas Sailor”
Funeral services will be held 11:00 am Saturday at the Main St. Baptist Church, 117 Main St. Binghamton. The family will receive friends from 1-3 and 5-8 pm Friday at the Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home, 483 Chenango St. Binghamton. A Masonic service will be held at 7:45 pm. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Shawn's memory to the Kalurah Shriners Hospital Transportation Fund, PO Box 1791, Binghamton, NY 13902.