David J. Mahoney

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David Joseph Mahoney Jr. (May 17, 1923 – May 1, 2000) was an American business leader, philanthropist[1] and author.

Early life and education[edit]

David Joseph Mahoney Jr. was born of first generation Irish-American parents in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx, New York. His father, David Mahoney Sr., was a construction crane operator. Mahoney's mother, Loretta Cahill, was a telephone operator with New York Bell.

Mahoney attended the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce at the University of Pennsylvania on a basketball scholarship.[2] His studies were interrupted by the onset of World War II. He served in the Army, beginning as a private and being promoted to captain in the infantry three years later. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan after the end of the war. After service, he worked at the Ruthraff and Ryan Ad Agency's Manhattan office while resuming studies at Wharton. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.


Mahoney was hired as an account executive at Ruthraff and Ryan.[3] In 1951 he went into business for himself, forming an advertising agency, David J. Mahoney, Inc.[4] The company managed advertising for eight companies, including Noxzema, White Rock and Good Humor.[2] Mahoney sold his agency in 1956 and became President of Good Humor.

In 1961 Mahoney was appointed Executive Vice President of Colgate-Palmolive,[5] and became President of Canada Dry in 1966.[6] The following year, Norton Simon, Inc. was formed with the consolidation of Canada Dry, Hunts Food and Industries and the McCall Corporation; Mahoney was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer as one of three people who managed the company.[7][8][9] He was its first President and Chief Executive Officer,[10] and became Chairman in 1970.

In 1970, Mahoney was appointed by U.S. President Nixon as Chairman of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission.

Public health[edit]

By 1977 Mahoney became Chairman of the Dana Foundation, and refocused the organization mainly on neuroscience. He founded the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a foundation organization of about 190 neuroscientists, with the purpose of educating the public about their field.[11] He endowed programs in neuroscience at Harvard and at the University of Pennsylvania, and sat on the Board of Advisors of the David Mahoney Institute of neurological sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He served as Chairman of the Governing Council of the Harvard-Mahoney Neuroscience Institute at Harvard Medical School.

Personal life[edit]

Mahoney was married to model Barbara "Bobbie" Ann Moore, and the couple had two children. He later married model Hildegarde "Hillie" Merrill, the former Mrs. Arthur C. Merrill, who had two sons from her previous marriage.


Mahoney died on May 1, 2000 at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, of heart failure.


  • Confessions of a Street-Smart Manager (with Richard Conarroe). Foreword by William Safire. ISBN 9780671625368.
  • The Longevity Strategy: How to Live to 100 Using the Brain-Body Connection (with Richard Restak, M.D.). Foreword by William Safire. ISBN 9780471327943.



  1. ^ "David Mahoney; Executive Promoted Brain Research". Los Angeles Times, May 04, 2000|ELAINE WOO
  2. ^ a b Michael Gross (2005). 740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building. Crown/Archetype. pp. 388–. ISBN 978-0-307-41876-0.
  3. ^ "Operation Ex-GI"Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (17 March 1951). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 10–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  4. ^ "DAVID J. MAHONEY: ELAN AS SALESMAN FINANCIER". By MICHAEL BLUMSTEIN The New York Times, June 7, 1983; Business Digest (section), Page D1
  5. ^ Television. Television Magazine Corporation. 1963. pp. 31 60.
  6. ^ Suzanne Muchnic (1998). Odd Man in: Norton Simon and the Pursuit of Culture. University of California Press. pp. 135–. ISBN 978-0-520-20643-4.
  7. ^ Isadore Barmash (1 April 2004). The Chief Executives. Beard Books. pp. 53–. ISBN 978-1-58798-228-6.
  8. ^ Fred E. Basten (1 April 2012). Max Factor: The Man Who Changed the Faces of the World. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-1-61145-135-1.
  9. ^ "Management: Shuffle & Cut". Time Magazine, Dec. 02, 1966
  10. ^ Barbara Kellerman (1999). Reinventing Leadership: Making the Connection Between Politics and Business. SUNY Press. pp. 56–. ISBN 978-0-7914-4071-1.
  11. ^ "David Mahoney, a Business Executive And Neuroscience Advocate, Dies at 76". International New York Times, By ERIC NAGOURNEY May 2, 2000
  12. ^ "Congressional Medal of Honor Society -- Home of Heroes National Patriots Award roster"
  • People, January 31, 1983, Vol. 19; No. 4; Page 31
  • Time, June 20, 1983, vol. 121; No. 25; Page 62

External links[edit]