Sixty-one-year old Kevin Mahoney was at the King Soopers on Monday afternoon picking up groceries, in his role as designated pandemic-era shopper for the family.
“He was going grocery shopping to step up for my mom ….And King Soopers is five minutes from our home. That's where I've gone since I was 5 years old,” said his daughter, Erika Mahoney, in a tearful interview last week for NPR’s Morning Edition.
After news began to spread that her father was among the 10 victims of the Boulder mass shooting, she started hearing from childhood friends who wanted to share their condolences, and memories, about “the best dad ever.”
“If I could give him an award, it would be the best dad award because he was like a dad to the entire neighborhood here in my hometown,” said Mahoney, who grew up in Boulder and now lives in the Monterey area of California, where she is news director at the public radio affiliate. “He would play outside with us for hours in the summertime, like hide and seek all over the neighborhood. A lot of my friends have been texting me today and throughout this time saying that he was like a dad to them, too.”
Erika Mahoney is pregnant, and said she is heartbroken that the man who walked her down the aisle, and was a dad to everyone, will never get to hold his first grandchild, a little girl.
“I will tell her that he had the biggest heart, and he was funny, and he also had this funny quirk where if you said a word and it was, like, in a song, he would just burst out in songs,” she told NPR.
Kevin Mahoney had been an executive and consultant in the hospitality industry, and, until he left the role in 2014, was a COO at Stonebridge Companies, a hotel management and development company in Denver.
Ruth Ormsby, president of RO Hotel Consulting, LLC, told the publication Hotel Business that Mahoney’s negotiating — and human — skills came to the fore when talks got tense.
“Kevin was so thoughtful, kind, professional and respectful during all of these negotiations,” Ormsby said. “Even during difficult professional negotiations, the guy was always a consummate professional. He never lost his cool. I think the world of him. He is just one of those guys that had a great reputation.”
Mahoney chose to retire early from a successful career to enjoy life — to give back to the community, as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels, to spend time with his family, and to spend as much of that time as possible in the outdoors. Nature, and keeping it free of litter, were two driving passions.
“And I'm just so happy that he did that (retire) now because he was able to do the things he really loved,” said his daughter. “He traveled a lot, and he went skiing a lot, and he visited me a lot, so I'm really thankful .... that he did decide to do that.”
In an interview with Denver’s KUSA, Kevin Mahoney's wife-of-35-years, Ellen, said the tragedy has made her appreciate the hidden blessings of 2020 and its pandemic shutdowns.
“For us, it actually brought us closer together and reminded me more of the beginning of our marriage,” she said. “I really am grateful for that year together.”