When Hatton McMahan, 84, passed away on Friday, March 15, 2013, at the Tamarack Assisted Living Center, Altus lost an excellent banker, a civic-minded citizen, and a wonderful man. McMahan was born in Altus on Oct. 11, 1928, to Hatton and Adella (Minor) McMahan. He was a third generation native of Altus, the descendant of pioneers J. R. McMahan and Fredrick W. Minor.
McMahan attended Altus Public Schools Washington Elementary, Central Junior High, and Altus High School graduating in 1946. He then obtained a degree in business from Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State University. For the rest of his life, McMahan remained a loyal Bulldog and OSU Cowboy fan, holding season tickets to both football and basketball games, making it no coincidence that the First National Bank has sponsored the local broadcasts of OSU sports for decades now.
On April 11, 1952, he married Mary Ellen (Yates) McMahan in Vernon, Texas. They spent 53 wonderful years together. One of their favorite pastimes was traveling, and they enjoyed trips to every state in the Union, including all Big 12 university campuses, often in their RV accompanied by their faithful companion Big Shot.
From January 1960 to March 1999, McMahan served as President of the First National Bank in Altus, a bank established by his grandfather J. R. McMahan in 1902. He continued to serve as Chairman of the Board through 2011. During his tenure as President, the bank doubled its service area by expanding into Kiowa and Tillman Counties. In 2006, McMahan was honored as a Community Banking Legend by the Community Bankers Association of Oklahoma for his outstanding dedication and contribution to the banking industry.
Perhaps the best characterization of his banking acumen is a compliment paid to McMahan by a major competitor on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of First National Bank. The note read, When I came to Altus, one thing I often heard, and later learned to be true, was that if Hatton says it is so it was. Your honesty and trustworthiness and your belief in the industry have been well-known attributes.
McMahan held a seat on the Altus School Board from 1962 to 1979, serving as President of the Board from 1967 to 1979, resigning then only because the family moved from the North Main home to a new home on South Mockingbird which meant he then resided in a different ward. During his years of service, Southeast Junior High was built and the Altus High School campus was developed with the additions of the music building, the cafeteria, the library, and the swimming complex. Serving first with Superintendent Clifford Peterson and later with Superintendent Morris Foster, McMahan took pride in the fact that the school district always operated in the black.
As a board member of Downtown Housing, Inc., McMahan was instrumental in securing financing for The Towers, providing housing for those with limited incomes. He was a 55-year member of the Kiwanis International service club and a member of the First Christian Church. He was honored as KWHWs Legend of Agriculture in 2000.
At the state level, McMahan served on the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority and was chair of that body when the bonds were let to restore the dome on the Oklahoma State Capitol.
McMahans abiding interest in Altus was evidenced in the banks many community service endeavors, such as: hosting the annual 4-H Honors and Awards Banquet, supporting the Jackson County Livestock Show, funding Altus Highs Sports Performance and Education Center, and endowing the Photography Gallery and Archives at the Museum of the Western Prairie.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Mary; and his sister, Frances McMahan Mock.
He is survived by his children, Philip, Diann, and Dan, all of Altus; two grandchildren, Ross Smith of Denver, Colo., and Cannon McMahan of Stillwater; a brother-in-law, John Mock of Altus; and many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services are set for Monday at 2 p.m. at Lowell-Tims Funeral Home Chapel. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers memorials be made to the OSU Foundation, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, or a charity of their choice.
For family and friends not able to attend the service, Lowell-Tims will provide a live Web-cast of the service beginning at 1:58 p.m. Monday. Go to www.Lowell-Tims.com, click on obituaries, then click on Hatton McMahan. There will be a large button inviting you to join the web-cast.
On-line tributes may be made to the family at www.Lowell-Tims.com