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The ‘milkman,’ dead at 64, provided dairy products to Chicago’s public schools

Frank J. McMah| Sun-Times files

Frank J. McMahon | Sun-Times files

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Updated: October 21, 2012 2:42PM

Around Chicago, Frank J. McMahon was known as “the milkman.”

His family’s McMahon Food Corp. is one of the area’s largest dairy-distribution companies, providing dairy products to Chicago’s public schools and mom-and-pop stores alike.

Mr. McMahon, who lived on the Near West Side, died Sunday at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. He was 64.

“He never asked for anything from anybody,” said Illinois Appellate Court Judge and former DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph E. Birkett, a first cousin of Mr. McMahon. “His life was one of love of family and loyalty and generosity toward his friends.”

Mr. McMahon had taken ill while flying back to Chicago from a recent out-of-town trip, prompting his hospitalization, Birkett said.

A member of the Irish Fellowship Club Board of Directors, Mr. McMahon was a friend and supporter of several Chicago and Cook County politicians, including Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), former Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine and current State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who employs two of Mr. McMahon’s daughters as assistant state’s attorneys.

His family’s company came under investigation by the Chicago Public Schools’ inspector general this year after the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association revealed that the city school system had been paying more for milk than many suburban school districts. McMahon Food Corp. and its partners later agreed to cut school-milk prices, which school officials say will save $750,000 a year.

McMahon Food Corp.’s warehouse in Little Village also has been an office for Windy City Electric Co., owned by two of Mr. McMahon’s sisters-in-law. In August, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration banned Windy City from working for City Hall, concluding that the company had been run by men even as it won city contracts that had been set aside for companies owned and operated by women.

Mr. McMahon’s survivors include his wife, Mary, five children and six siblings. A funeral mass will be said at 10 a.m. Thursday at Old St. Patrick’s Church, 700 W. Adams.

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