Former Santa Clara Mayor and Councilmember Patricia Mahan, who resigned her seat in 2020 due to medical issues, passed away on Saturday at the age of 71, her sister told this news organization.
Mahan was first elected to the council in 1994 and then as mayor in 2002, serving in that role until 2010. She was most recently re-elected as a councilmember in 2016, but resigned Feb. 1, 2020 — months before her term was up — citing lasting health effects from her cancer treatments. She was a breast cancer survivor.
Her sister, Jeannie Mahan, said she was admitted to the hospital on Friday, following issues with her kidney, liver and heart.
“Her body finally said I’m tired,” she told the Mercury News.
In an interview, Jeannie Mahan reflected on her sister’s resilience, saying “she never gave up and always looked forward to the very end.”
“She was one of the kindest, most generous and empathetic people that I knew,” she said. “She was always patient and giving and never said a bad word about anyone. She gave to the community and breast cancer survivors and patients. She was devoted to the city of Santa Clara and put in many years of services.”
The longtime public official was born and raised in Santa Clara and graduated from the Santa Clara University School of Law in 1980. She went on to start her own private practice that specialized in tax and estate planning. Mahan was married to John Boyles, a retired San Jose police sergeant. They have one son together.
During her tenure, Mahan was instrumental in the construction of Levi’s Stadium and was a proponent of the city’s switch to district-based elections, which supporters said added more diversity to the council.
In a statement, Councilmember Anthony Becker called Mahan a Santa Clara “icon,” and praised her for her work in expanding the city’s entertainment district, helping complete the San Tomas Aquino trail and preserving Great America at the time.
“She was a dedicated public servant who put her community first,” he said. “As the saying goes, service above self. It is a privilege that I was able to call her a mentor and ultimately a friend. I will surely miss our chats, breakfasts and movie nights. She will be greatly missed and has left an everlasting impression on our community of Santa Clara and the entire region.”
As news of her death began circulating the community, the social media tributes for Mahan started pouring in.
In a Facebook post Monday afternoon, Councilmember Suds Jain said the city manager sent out a memo that Santa Clara would be lowering the the flags to half-staff starting today through Nov. 6 in her memory.
“She stood up for principle and was a very kind human being, treating everyone with respect,” he said. “She did a lot to help preserve the historic nature of the Old Quad.”
In a post on X, 49ers CEO Jed York said Mahan’s “leadership made Santa Clara a better place.”
“She always put others first,” he said. “She was a loving mother above all. I will miss her very much.”
My condolences go out to Patty Mahan’s family. Her leadership made Santa Clara a better place. She always put others first. She was a loving mother above all. I will miss her very much.
— Jed York (@JedYork) October 30, 2023
Mohammed Nadeem, a city council candidate in 2014 and former Civil Services Commissioner, remembered Mahan in a Facebook post for her “big smile,” calling her a “great lady” and a “dear friend.”
“With her passing, we mark the end of an era, and the loss of a strong leader in our community,” he said. “She was a big supporter of our Muslim Community Association Santa Clara since it’s inception in mid-90’s.”
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.