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Music 01


William John Mahar

November 30, 1938 ~ September 8, 2018 (age 79)

William “Bill” Mahar

William John Mahar, PhD, died peacefully on September 8, 2018 after a short illness.  William (Bill) was born on November 30, 1938 in Syracuse, NY to Mary (n: Cabey) and William F. Mahar who immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the late 1920s.  Arts, history and music were Bill’s passion and he graduated from Syracuse University with a PhD in Humanities in 1972.

 Dr. Mahar moved to Mechanicsburg, PA in 1971 where he became Assistant Professor at Penn State University, Harrisburg campus.  Bill became a treasured faculty member at the University, teaching music history among many disciplines and publishing a book entitled Behind the Burnt Cork Mask in 1999.  Bill found a profound talent in his role as academic advisor where he helped countless students achieve success in their academic endeavors, always placing the needs of students as his highest priority. Bill retired from the University as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2006.

 Bill married Constance Quinn on November 28, 1964 and raised two children, Jennifer and Andrew.  Together they treasured annual vacations to Chatham, Massachusetts and time with family in New York.  Bill’s sense of humor, generosity of spirit, and motivation for being just and fair during circumstances of discourse will be missed by all who loved him.

 Bill is survived by his daughter Jennifer Mahar and son-in-law Johann Mordhorst, his son Andrew Mahar and daughter-in-law Elizabeth Abbott, his grandsons Patrick and Lincoln Mahar, his sister Maureen Swartz and her four children, his nieces Connie Drake, Suzanne Alpert and Laura Ross, grandnieces Victoria Alpert, Emily Drake, Amelya Drake, and grandnephews Anthony Ross and Nicholas Ross as well as extended family in the United States and Ireland.  He found particular joy in being the patriarch and providing guidance to his cherished family. He is predeceased by his brother Edward Mahar and his beloved wife Constance Mahar (n:Quinn) to whom he was married for 52 years.

 Celebration of life services are being planned for later this fall.

 Those who wish may make a memorial donation to the William J. Mahar Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts at Penn State Harrisburg.  Please donate via   or mail to Penn State Harrisburg, 777 W. Harrisburg Pike, W110 Olmsted, Middletown, Pa 17057. Checks made payable to Penn State Harrisburg.

 Bill’s family has entrusted his care to Myers – Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421.  Read Bill’s full obituary and sign his official guest book at

Bill’s family has entrusted his care to Myers - Buhrig Funeral Home and Crematory in Mechanicsburg.  Read Bill’s full obituary once posted, share your memories and photos, offer your condolences, and view his memorial video and portrait at

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