Jim’s maternal Great Grandfather, Patrick McMahon was born in Ireland in 1864 to Patrick McMahon and Bridget Shaughnessy. Like many Irish men of that era, Patrick left his homeland seeking a better life. Patrick arrived in New York in May 1880. He met Mary Griffen, who had been born in Ireland, possibly in County Mayo in 1861. Mary’s parents were Michael Griffen and Mary Smith. Like Patrick, she too came to New York sometime in the 1880’s. They married on November 23, 1886 at St. Anne’s Church on East 12th Street in Manhattan. Jim’s maternal grandfather, John McMahon was born on September 25, 1890 in Manhattan. John was 5 years old when his mother died, so he and his brother were boarded at Father Drumgoole’s Home in Staten Island until his father remarried in 1899. He married Mary Elizabeth Shields from the north of Ireland. Mary’s parents were David Shields and Mary Craig. Jim’s great grandfather died in 1903, so both of Jim’s grandfathers’ birth parents had died before he was in his early teens. Little is known as to how John McMahon met Mary Elizabeth Shields, but they married shortly after Mary’s mother died in 1911. They were married on February 1, 1912 in St. Brendan’s Church in Manhattan. They then moved to that paradise on earth which is still known as Brooklyn shortly after they were married.
Little is known about Jim’s paternal family since Jim’s father was raised in an orphanage. In 1941, at age 16, Jim’s father left the orphanage and tried to join the Navy as many young men did after the attack on Pearl Harbor. When it was discovered that he was under age and was precluded from military service, Jim’s father hopped a merchant vessel on the Brooklyn waterfront. He spent the next five years in the Merchant Marines delivering the goods needed to defeat the Axis Powers. Like many Irishman who immigrated to the United States in the 1880’s, they came to escape poverty, worked hard, had a family and died young. All of the Irish couples who met and married lived in tenements in New York among their fellow Irish. Many lost several children in their first year of life.
Jim’s grandfather never spoke about life in Ireland that his great grandfather had left behind. Jim’s grandfather when pressed about Ireland would say “My father told me I was an American now and he said I should look forward and not back.” Jim was born in Brooklyn in 1949 to James Scully and Teresa McMahon. He claims he was lucky enough to have vague memories of the Dodgers beating the Yankees in 1955. He attended Saint Peters Our Lady de la Pilar Elementary School and Bishop Ford High School, both of which were in Brooklyn. His education was cut short by a very bad lottery number followed by a draft notice. So, he joined the Navy and spent almost four years serving in the Submarine Fleet. He returned to Brooklyn in 1971 and was married in 1977. He became a father in September 1980. In 1986 he separated from his first wife and sought custody of his son. He was the fifth man in Kings County Brooklyn courts to be awarded custody of a child. Jim and his son James moved to Carmel New York in August 1992 when the company Jim worked for left NYC and moved to Purchase NY. Jim continued to work for that company until January 2015, when he retired after working there for 33 years. While working at CNG Jim was responsible for managing their Foreign Currency accounts, collected the proceeds for all international sales, implemented very creative trade finance arrangements and most importantly managed CNG’s two company football pools. When Jim retired in 2015, no one asked what his retirement plans were but instead asked who’s going to run the football pools. Jim is still running those pools three years after his retirement. His retirement has been blessed with the fruits of the good investment decisions he made early in his life. Jim’s good fortunes continued when he met and married his lovely wife Lisa O’Neill. They were married on September 26, 2015, and if you go to You Tube and search for Jim & Lisa wedding video you can watch their first dance together. If you listen very closely, at 56 seconds into the video you can hear Ruth Reilly shout “You should be on Dancing with the Stars.” Jim was introduced to the Emerald Association by Bridie Hamilton. Jim likes to say it was a short recuperating period from Bridies arm twisting. He’s served the Emeralds as vice president for a term and as president for two terms. He has been the voice of the Northern Westchester Putnam County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for four years. But he states that his true claim to fame has been serving as the Chief Sanitation Engineer and Plunger Operator for the Annual Emerald Association Feis. In closing, Jim would like to point out that none of this would have been possible had God not placed the wonderful and loving people in his life.