|William Franklin McMahon|
|September 09, 1921 - March 03, 2012|
|of Lake Forest, IL - Lincolnshire, IL|
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday, March 09, 2012
at Wenban Funeral Home
320 E. Vine Avenue
Lake Forest, IL 60045
|Mass of Christian Burial: |
10:00 a.m., Saturday, March 10, 2012
at St. Patrick's Old Church
991 S. Waukegan Road
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Following Mass, Saturday, March 10, 2012
at St. Mary Cemetery - Lake Forest, IL
|Franklin McMahon (September 9, 1921 – March 3, 2012) was an artist-reporter whose work took him around the world for more than half a century. His seminal work at the birth of the civil rights movement, his coverage of all U.S. presidential campaigns since 1960, America’s role in the space race, the formation of the European council, Vatican II, and scores of other political, cultural, religious and sporting events; all were part of a Franklin McMahon "day at the office" for the last 55+ years...except that for him, his office was his studio, which is the world. In the words of Peter Lyle of The Sunday Telegraph of London:
“...his pencil and his pad have been witness to many of the most significant events in postwar American and world history."
His artistic output also included films and books. His widespread recognition, as evidenced by his exhibitions, his awards, and the broad array of national and international institutions who hold his work, demonstrates that Lyle’s title “The Man Who Drew History” is well-earned.
Other than in his very early years when he did illustrations "on spec", he was not an "after-the-fact" illustrator. In his own words, drawing from life made him an "artist-reporter" or a "reportorial artist." “That way,” he said, ”you can see around the corner.”
Franklin McMahon was born in Chicago, IL in 1921. He and his parents lived in Beverly Hills, CA for a time, returning to Chicago in his teens. He commuted to the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, IL to attend Fenwick High School,] where his cartoon drawings were published in the school’s newspaper, “The Wick.” He graduated in 1939. Collier's Weekly, a weekly national news magazine, noticed one of his cartoons, helping him land his first job, as an apprentice in an art studio.
During WWII he was an Army Air Corps B-17 navigator, and was shot down in action in January 1945. He spent several months in a German prison camp. On occasion, when he could get hold of some paper, he drew his guards.
After the war, he married high school sweetheart Irene Leahy] and used the GI Bill to attend night classes at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, American Academy of Art, Harrington College of Design, and the Art Institute of Chicago. They settled in Lake Forest, IL to raise their family, which eventually became nine children, several whom are now recognized artists. He thought that artists belonged out in the world. Studio work was confining, so he sought jobs which allowed him to travel. Eventually, Irene became a travel writer, and accompanied her husband on many of his journeys. Wherever his travels took him, home base was always the Chicago area. Over the years he owned downtown condos and three different homes in Lake Forest. For the last several years of his life, he lived in a retirement community not far from Lake Forest.
McMahon’s drawings and paintings, a number of which were drawn on assignment for the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily News and the Chicago Sun Times, the New York Times, Life and Look Magazines, and Sports Illustrated, captured the major historical events of the post-World War II era. His artworks included the trial of Emmet Till, the political campaigns and conventions between 1960 and 2004, the Vatican II Council, the 1965 March on Selma, the Conspiracy Trial of The Chicago 8, the first walk on the moon drawn from Mission Control and the Watergate hearings. McMahon made all of his drawings “on scene” because he believed that an artist reporter could “see around the corners” to capture the essence of the emotion of the subjects of his work. As the culture reporter of the Sunday Telegraph of London Peter Lyle noted: “...his pencil and his pad have been witness to many of the most significant events in postwar American and world history."
A wake will be held at Wenban Funeral Home, 320 E. Vine St., Lake Forest, on Friday, March 9th, from 4pm – 8pm. A mass of Christian Burial will be said at 10am Saturday, March 10th at St. Patrick’s Church, 991 South Waukegan Road in Lake Forest at 10am. A private burial will follow.
Franklin McMahon is survived by his nine children: Wm. Franklin McMahon, Mark McMahon, Mary I McMahon Taplin, Deborah McMahon Osterholtz, Patrick McMahon, Hugh McMahon, Margot McMahon, Michelle McMahon- Kubota and Michael McMahon, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers that donations are made to:
2822 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, Illinois 60612