Elizabeth McMahon, 99, Oldest active Dominican, Trinity grad
You can’t say Elizabeth Barrett Roche McMahon wasn’t devoted to her alma maters. A 1924 graduate of Rosary House, which later became Trinity High School, and a 1929 grad of Rosary College (now Dominican University), Mrs. McMahon was the oldest alumna of both schools (the oldest Dominican graduate, Mildred Conley Brown, class of ’28, turned 100 on Jan. 27 in Milwaukee).

Born in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on March 24, 1906, Mrs. McMahon attended St. Patrick’s Academy and St. Lucy School before graduating from St. Catherine in Oak Park.

After graduating from the two Rosarys, she never lost touch, faithfully attending alumnae events throughout the years and welcoming anyone affiliated with the schools to her River Forest home and front porch for a glass of scotch and a cigarette (“But I don’t inhale,” she would say).

She attended Dominican’s Remembrance and Memorial Masses for alumnae three or four times annually, and never missed the annual Candle & Rose ceremony in the Rosary/Dominican quad the night before graduation each May. In recent years, she was reduced to “driving by” as her health and mobility declined. She would also drop by the Homecoming tent each fall and regularly shopped at the university’s bookstore.

In 2004, she attended her 75th class reunion, the only Dominican alumna at the Platinum Luncheon.

She loved hosting large parties in her home of 66 years and was famous for performing “Hello Dolly” as she descended the staircase before landing on her son-in-law’s knee. Halloween was her favorite holiday, and she always dressed in costume and welcomed the neighborhood kids into her home. She was known among admirers for her “razor-sharp wit.”

Mrs. McMahon was active in both the Trinity and Fenwick mother’s clubs and alumni associations. She was also a member of the St. Luke Women’s Guild and the St. Luke Bridge Club.

Elizabeth McMahon died on Jan. 30, 2006 of pneumonia just two months shy of her 100th birthday. Dominican will remember her at Mass on April 2.

She is survived by her children, Elizabeth Kennedy, Patrick Roche, Robert Roche, Kathleen Kinahan, and Mary Clair Mulvihill; her 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and four sisters. She was preceded in death by her husbands, John F. Roche Jr. and Samuel McMahon; and her sons, John F. Roche III and Kevin McMahon.

Visitation was held Feb. 3 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home in Oak Park. Funeral Mass was celebrated Feb. 4 at St. Luke in River Forest, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside.

Memorials to either Dominican University, 7900 W. Division, or Trinity High School, 7574 W. Division, River Forest 60305 are appreciated.

“She used to tell stories about how she would pass Trinity on her way to church and would say a prayer for us,” said Sister Michelle Germanson, O.P., president of Trinity High. “We won’t have that daily prayer anymore, but we do have something even better?#34;our own special angel in heaven.”

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