Brian James McMahon

Brian James McMahon, widower of Diana Leonard McMahon, passed away on August 8 in Guilford, Connecticut, with his family by his side. Brian was born on October 21, 1936, in New York City to Anne Ratchford and Leonard McMahon. Brian grew up in Danbury, Connecticut, and attended Danbury High School, where he was elected captain of the baseball team and president of the National Honor Society, and where he was affectionately known as, “Homeroom Casanova.” He was a member of the Yale College Class of 1958, and graduated Yale Law School in 1961. Brian married Diana Leonard in February of 1959, and moved with Diana and their son, Christopher, to Michigan in 1964. Brian was a tireless and courageous prosecutor for the City of Detroit before taking on the role of Executive Director and General Counsel for the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission in 1975. His bravery and strong moral compass were well-suited to this difficult and sometimes dangerous job. At the conclusion of his term, Brian was commended by the Chairman of the Commission for “a fine application of intellect and judgment, a high degree of integrity and dedication, and an erudite knowledge of the law.” Brian finished his impressive legal career as a family practice attorney at the law firm of Cox, Hodgman and Giarmarco in 1993.

For three decades, Brian and Diana made their home on the shores of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Park, where they raised Chris (born 1959), Meghan (born 1965), and Cullen (born 1975). Brian loved spending time on the lake, fishing and boating with his family. In 1993, Brian and Diana returned to Connecticut, where they built a home on a hill overlooking the Long Island Sound. Brian lived happily and peacefully on Barley Hill for many years. Brian had a quick wit, and a colossal intellect. He could quote Nigel Tufnel (of “Spinal Tap”) as easily as Ulysses S. Grant. He was a classical music aficionado, a scratch golfer, a news junkie, a shameless and gleeful punster, and a proud Yale man. Brian will be remembered, above all, for his kindness. He was a wise and gentle soul. He will be dearly missed by his children: Chris, and his wife, Marsha Ladomer, of Dearborn, Michigan; Meghan, and her husband, David Swensen, of Madison, Connecticut; and Cullen, and his wife, Anne-Marie Peterson, of Greenwich, Connecticut; his sister, Robin Scanlan, of Bristol, Rhode Island; his twin brother, Kevin, of Roanoke, Virginia; and grandchildren, Eamonn and Galen Smith, and Katherine, Julia, and James McMahon.

Brian was laid to rest beside his parents at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Danbury. Memorial contributions may be made to Yale University in support of the McMahon Family Scholarship. Please mail contributions to Yale University Office of Development, PO Box 2038, New Haven, CT 06521, or online by visiting:

Published in The New Haven Register on Aug. 28, 2020.