Telluride Foundation: Billy "Senior" Mahoney 2011 Outstanding Citizen

Telluride Foundation: Billy "Senior" Mahoney 2011 Outstanding Citizen

[click “Play” to hear Johnnie Stevens talk about Senior Mahoney]


BBQ at Telluride Historical Museum Thursday evening to honor Senior

Senior, Johnnie, helicopter Every year, the Telluride Foundation solicits nominations from the greater Telluride Community for its Outstanding Citizen of the Year, an award given in recognition of someone who has unselfishly contributed to our community’s quality of life. Among the winners selected by the Telluride Foundation Board of Directors since 2003: Terry Tice, Lissa Margetts, John Micetic, Bill Carstens, Jane Hickcox, John Pryor, Kathy Green, Marilyn Branch, Andrea Benda and Greer & Dan Garner.  This year’s winner is a guy who answers to the name “Senior.”

Blame it on the Industrial Revolution, which jettisoned especially older workers from the job market, who were replaced by mechanization. Or even before, in the 18th century as more and more immigrants flooded our country, where the desire to become an American, to adapt to their adopted homeland, replaced tradition, including venerating elders. Or blame it on the glossies, magazines that celebrate the young and nubile and shun anything with wrinkles. But the rules on the books never applied to Billy “Senior” Mahoney, a trailblazer and highly revered local icon.

“Senior Mahoney is a living legend of Telluride,” said Joanne Corzine-Brown, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Telluride Foundation. “He was raised in Telluride, worked in the mines, helped to create the ski area and has been involved in numerous nonprofits. Telluride is fortunate to have been impacted by this great man.”

Senior with Johnnie, Mike Hess; Colorado Ski Hall of Fame Senior Mahoney grew up the son of Telluride Marshal and San Miguel County Sheriff, Tom Mahoney. He attended Telluride public school, serving in the Navy after graduation. Back home, Senior became a hard-rock miner with the Idarado Mining Company and later the first employee of the Telluride Ski area, hired by Joe Zoline, founder. Senior developed the ski mountain and helped shape the ski industry throughout the state. For his considerable  and comprehensive contributions, he was inducted to the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.

Senior served four terms on Telluride Town Council and was the “highest vote getter” in 1972 and 1974. He volunteered at the Telluride Historical Museum, giving historical presentations, including the ever popular Fire Side chats. The Mahoneys continue to support anyone doing historical and family research about the Telluride region and beyond. The couple has donated mining and ski memorabilia to the Museum, to the Town and to the Colorado Ski Museum.
Sr Mahoney by Lauren Bloemsma “Mahoney Drive is more than a street. It represents the commitment and dedication of four generations of a Telluride mining family to build a ski area, to lead a successful transition to that new economy and to literally build and serve its two communities in many important ways,” Pam Pettee, friend and nominator of Senior Mahoney for Outstanding Citizen Award.

Another outstanding citizen in the Telluride Community and long time friend and associate of Senior Mahoney is Johnnie Stevens, who worked directly with Senior to build the ski area. The pair met when Johnnie was a young whippersnapper in the mid-1950s and the two became ski buddies and work colleagues.

“It was 40 years ago this month that Billy asked me to help him do snow cat tours and work on the feasibility of building ski lifts, and so I nearly lived with the guy, day and night, all about getting the job done. Billy’s work ethic and enthusiasm have always been unrelenting.”

A community BBQ in honor of Senior Mahoney takes place at the Telluride Historical Museum Thursday, August 25, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. The celebration will include a short presentation profiling Senior and his many contributions to the community.

To learn more about the Telluride Foundation’s 2011 Outstanding Citizen, Senior Mahoney, click the “play” and listen to my interview with Johnnie Stevens.


top 2 photos courtesy of Johnnie Stevens, photo with flags by Lauren Bloemsma

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