Louise Davis McMahon
Louise Davis McMahon
“Everyone loved her. I know I just did. She was kind, gracious, genteel, modest, dedicated to the Presbyterian Church…and a business woman. She was thrifty and sharp as a tack.”
Louise Davis was born in Missouri and was sent to a girl’s boarding school where she began preparation for a teaching certificate, as well as continuing her musical study. She returned home to continue high school upon the arrival of a teacher who made the education of the upper grades available. This teacher would become her husband, Eugene “E.P.” McMahon, and they married upon her graduation. After the birth of their only son, Eugene Davis, the family briefly lived in Minnesota before moving to be among the first residents of Lawton, Oklahoma. She taught piano lessons while her husband worked selling insurance and real estate. As an adult, their son Eugene invested in oil and gas mostly in East and Central Texas. Upon the death of his father, Louise and Eugene became the financial backing of the McMahon Foundation, a perpetual charitable corporation in Comanche County, established in memory of E. P. McMahon. Mrs. McMahon built the McMahon Foundation building in 1948 to not only be her residence, but also to house the foundation’s office and serve as a meeting space. She was voted Mother of the Year in Oklahoma in 1949 and led the foundation’s support in the building of McMahon Auditorium in Lawton in 1953. She was also a published author and painter. Upon Mrs. McMahon’s death in 1966, the McMahon Foundation erected a $3 million Fine Arts Building dedicated to her memory on the Cameron University campus. Since its inception in 1940, the McMahon Foundation has perpetuated the McMahon family’s legacy with over $75 million being granted for the benefit of others.
In 1957, a $300,000 grant from the McMahon Foundation was used to build the Museum of the Great Plains, with collections that cover not only Oklahoma History and family papers, but also Oklahoma musical history and the history of Lawton’s social and cultural clubs since their beginnings.
McMahon moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1901.