Toni Winters McMahon Dies

Toni Winters McMahon Dies

Toni Winters McMahon, who had served as president and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax since 1984, died on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

McMahon oversaw the Arts Council at a time of great growth for the arts in the county and spoke extensively about fund-raising, grant-writing, board development and long-range planning. The Arts Council oversees such events as the International Children's Festival at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.

McMahon was born Catherine Antoinette Winters in Keene, N.H. She was a music graduate of Tufts University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and she did graduate work in public administration at George Mason University. Her community involvement began as a schools activist, and she eventually served as president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs. She started projects to encourage high-school seniors to volunteer at the county's various human services agencies and in 1981 raised more than $100,000 to save the Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run in McLean, when the National Park Service withdrew its funding.

At her death, her board memberships included the George Mason University Center for the Arts, the Lorton Arts Foundation and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. She also was a past chairwoman of Virginians for the Arts.

McMahon was named 1984 Fairfax County Citizen of the Year, an award co-sponsored by the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations and the Washington Post. In 1999 she received the Jinx Hazel Arts Citizen of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

Survivors include four children: Dr. Doug McMahon of Medford, Ore.; John W. McMahon of Warrenton; and Toni L. McMahon and Norwood McMahon, both of Fairfax; and three grandchildren.

A private burial will take place at the family plot in New Hampshire.

It is the family's wish that donations be made in her name to the Arts Council of Fairfax County, 4022 Hummer Road, Annandale, VA 22003-2403.

McMahon's family will host a "Celebration of Toni's Life" on Friday, Feb. 6, at 4 p.m., at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap in Vienna, adjacent to the Barns of Wolf Trap. To R.S.V.P., call the Arts Council at 703-642-0862, Ext. 7.