VILLA PARK – Skydiving, scuba diving and Harley riding are just a few of the adventurous hobbies Paul Mahoney loved.
Laughter, however, might be what best describes Mahoney, the owner of Mahoney’s Pub in Villa Park, who died Sunday at 52 from liver failure.
“Probably the biggest thing he loved to do is laugh,” said longtime friend Scott Settles, 47, of Lombard. “Anything to be able to laugh. He definitely told stories – he made stories.”
Mahoney moved to Villa Park when he was 7 and never left, making a lot of friends during those 45 years.
“He’d accept anybody. It didn’t matter what you did, he would be a friend,” Mahoney’s father, Bob, said.
Paul Mahoney had battled liver disease since 2004, according to Bob Mahoney, who said his son’s condition had improved up until last September.
Mahoney had been in and out of the hospital and rehab since January, and finally received a liver transplant May 1. It was discovered after surgery that the new liver had fibrosis, Bob Mahoney said.
Tragedy also befell the family in 2002 when Mahoney’s wife, Kerry, died of a heart attack just 19 months after they were married. Mahoney’s stepdaughter, Erin Pierce, passed away a few years later, Bob Mahoney said.
Mahoney is survived by his parents, Bob and Gail, stepdaughter, Erika Abate, stepgranddaughters, Kerry Lane Pierce and Jada Woods, and his siblings, Jim, Terri Miller, Tricia and Katy.
All five siblings graduated from Willowbrook High School.
Mahoney’s Pub, 121 S. Villa Ave., is described as “the first real Irish pub in Villa Park” on the pub's Facebook page. Many used the social media platform to express their condolences.
Sandy Rood wrote, “RIP Paul. You lived, you loved and you laughed…that's a good life. You will be missed.”
Mahoney, who also was a union electrician, owned the pub for more than three years after buying it in 2011.
No final decisions have been made regarding the pub’s future, except that it will remain open, according to Bob Mahoney. He said bar manager Jason Theiner, grandson of a previous owner, will continue to manage and might eventually purchase the pub.
“We haven’t finalized any of that yet. But we fully intend to keep the pub open as Paul’s tribute,” Bob Mahoney said.
Settles, who went to high school with Mahoney’s sister, Katy, said he has so many memories with Mahoney, from riding to golfing to laughing, that it’s hard to find a single story to describe him.
“It was all one big great memory.”
Visitation for Mahoney is from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Steuerle Funeral Home, 350 S. Ardmore Ave. in Villa Park. The funeral Mass is at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Alexander Catholic Church, 300 S. Cornell Ave., Villa Park.