|Birth: ||Apr. 8, 1899|
District Of Columbia, USA
|Death: ||May 5, 1975|
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 6, 1975, PAGE C5
MICHAEL MAHANEY, D.C. POLICE CAPTAIN
Retired Metropolitan police Captain Michael J. Mahaney, 76, whose career on the police force in Washington spanned 42 years, died at his home, 714 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring, after suffering a heart attack.
Capt. Mahaney, who survived numerous gun fights and conducted many memorable investigations which brought him more than 150 official commendations, retired in 1961 as head of the special investigations squad.
He was known as a "tough cop" although he was soft-spoken and friendly in a way that helped him gather friends throughout the area.
Although he loved his job, physical disabilities, most of them incurred in the line of duty, forced Capt. Mahaney's retirement.
He said at the time that from then on he didn't "intend to do a thing." But a year later he was back at work as a court investigator for the legal aid division of U.S. District Court.
He stayed on that job until 1968, when he retired for a second time and from then on spent most of his time gardening.
A native of Washington, Capt. Mahaney served in World War I as an artillery sergeant with the Army in France, participating in major campaigns including St. Michael and Argonne Forrest.
He escaped unscathed only to be severely beaten and stabbed in the leg during his first year as a policeman in Washington. It was during a riot here.
Capt. Mahaney was appointed in February, 1919, and served as a patrolman and on bicycles and motorcycles before he became a precinct detective in 1931.
In that year, he shot to death a man who had just shot out the lights behind the White House on a high-speed crosstown cab ride.
After he was named a detective sergeant in 1932, Capt. Mahaney became involved in another shooting when an escaped lifer prisoner pulled a knife on him and the police officer shot him dead.
In 1937, Capt. Mahaney was one of six detectives staked out at a gambler's place, expecting a holdup. One bandit was slain in the machine gun battle that broke out.
It wasn't all shooting episodes, however, for Capt. Mahaney, although his bravery was never questioned.
He organized the safe squad and headed the pawn and auto squads at one time before taking over the special investigations squad.
This squad included the missing persons bureau, whose biggest job required tact in keeping people from becoming hysterical while reporting the disappearance of relatives or friends.
During Capt. Mahaney's tenure as head of the squad, from 1953, when he was promoted to captain, until his retirement, thousands of cases were handled each year.
One of the most spectacular of these was the murder of Pearl Putney, a 72-year-old widow who disappeared here in 1958.
He directed a prolonged investigation that led to the discovery of her bones in a California canyon and the conviction of Larry Lord Motherwell.
Capt. Mahaney was involved in the solving of other major cases and also developed an intimate knowledge of criminal and subversive elements throughout the city.
His retirement was described as "a real loss" by the late Police Chief Robert V. Murray.
Capt. Mahaney was a member of the Association of Retired Policemen of D.C., Post No. 29 of the American Legion and the Social Oyster Club.
He is survived by a daughter, Vivian Jane Highes, of Rockville; a son, Michael J. Mahaney Jr., of Lakewood, Ohio; a sister, Louise Dupar of Carmi, Ill., and six grandchildren.
Julia A. Mahaney (1896 - 1969)*
Michael J. Mahaney (1929 - 1999)*
Gate of Heaven Cemetery
Maintained by: Francis X. Mahaney, Jr.
Originally Created by: John Rentz
Record added: May 05, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69388519