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John Francis Maher

John Francis Maher of Guilford, CT, suffered a heart attack and passed away on October 13, 2012, in New York.

Born on April 25, 1943, in Berkeley, CA, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward John Maher (Emilia A. Radovan). Mr. Maher attended Cate School, graduated from Menlo College in 1965 and earned his MBA in 1967 from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance, where he was named a Joseph Wharton Fellow. A general partner at Blyth Eastman Dillon from 1971, between 1979 and 1986 he served as managing director of Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, in charge of the firm’s West Coast banking activities. He then became president and later chief executive officer of Great Western Financial Corporation until it merged with Washington Mutual in 1997. 

Mr. Maher served on the board of directors of Columbia Management (formerly RiverSource Funds in Minneapolis, and was a former director of Baker Hughes. He also served as chairman of the board and on the executive committee of Trout Unlimited, and belonged to a variety of philanthropic organizations.

An avid fly fisherman and bird hunter, Mr. Maher was often in the Bahamas, South America or other locations chasing the largest or most challenging fish. His two weeks in Norway on the Alta River became his favorite salmon fishing excursion. As an enthusiastic bird hunter, Mr. Maher could frequently be found shooting at the Clove Valley Rod and Gun Club in Dutchess County, NY, the Bear River Club in Utah, or at Mashomack with his black Lab, Rex.

In the summer, several weeks were always spent at the Bohemian Grove in Lost Angels Camp. Known for his favorite motto, “Fun Is Important,” he was always fun and a source of enjoyment for all who knew him.

Mr. Maher is survived by his wife of more than 36 years, the former Helen Lee Stillman; their children, Michael Stillman Maher and Miss Helen Cathline Stillman; and two children from a previous marriage, Edward John Maher II and Mrs. Elizabeth Purdum (Elizabeth Ann Maher).

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