Dennis Mahar, longtime director of the Area Agency on Aging for Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties and a devoted community volunteer, died of cancer late Tuesday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. He was 63.
“I don’t think any of us imagined a world without Dennis Mahar. To say he was a true giant in advocating for seniors is still too small of a characterization,” said U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Washington, said in a statement.
“Everything we can possibly say about this generous individual we were privileged enough to have in our community is an understatement. I hope we will continue to share the stories of Dennis’ work on behalf of seniors to inspire others to pursue advocacy with the same passion and dedication as he did.”
In Mahar’s 35 years at the agency, Mahar made scores of contributions to strengthen the community he loved, said his close friend Rick Crawford.
This month, the United Way of Thurston County is slated to honor Mahar with the 2016 Gladys Burns Award, , which celebrates outstanding leadership, devotion, and volunteer work within a community. Mahar was a United Way board member and leader in forging the partnership between local government and the United Way, Executive Director Paul Knox said.
“Dennis was a smart, strong-minded individual who always stood on the side of the community,” Knox said. “He was someone who spent thousands of hours making it better. He had a big voice, but a smart voice.”