Neil Mahoney, Longtime est Trainer and Forum Leader, Dies at 83

June 21, 2019

Neil Mahoney, a former est Trainer and Leader of The Forum, passed away earlier this month from complications of a stroke. He was 83.

Born and raised in the Roxbury suburb of Boston, Mahoney got his undergraduate degree from Boston University, and two Masters degrees in education and psychology, as well as a PhD in public policy.

An army veteran and avid rugby player, Mahoney moved to San Francisco in 1964. He adopted two African American boys at a time when blended families were uncommon.

Mahoney began leading the est training the 1970s, and went on to lead the training and the Forum through the formation of Landmark in 1991, as well as being the Director of the Breakthrough Foundation’s Youth at Risk program.

He made an enormous difference for hundreds of thousands of people before retiring from leading programs for health reasons. His efforts were integral to expanding the work of transformation in the world.

“He was a stand up man,” recalls Landmark Forum Leader Laurel Scheaf. “He was profoundly compassionate – he had an infinite acceptance of people.”

Known for his legendary Boston accent and his ability to see right to the heart of people, Mahoney was also an extraordinary raconteur whose stories moved people to the essence of their humanity.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Louise, and his two adopted sons.


5 thoughts on “Neil Mahoney, Longtime est Trainer and Forum Leader, Dies at 83”

  1. I am sorry to have never met the man. We are so profoundly blessed in our Landmark community to have the honor and privilege of being trained by these exceptional individuals. May his soul rest in peace, and deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. Know that his work lives on.

  2. Neil led my est Training in September of 1979 in Pittsburgh, PA. I never got over it! I owe him my life!
    He was so fabulous, loving, commanding, strong all at the same time!

  3. I firmly recall Neil’s leading of my first modern version of the Advanced Course sometime in the early ‘90s. I recall his stories of the foundation of the Sunrise district political club in San Francisco, which eventually supported the run for Congress by Nancy Pelosi, and many other accomplishments for people.
    Support by Neil and his wife for discoveries around safe condoms in the state of California was exemplary, and his willingness to share personal details of his life that made his own humanity evident, inspired us others for breakthroughs in the face of our own humanity.
    I owe him in particular for the beauty of my marriage and (with the other Landmark Forum Leaders) as well for the extraordinary quality of my life!

  4. I saw this just now on the Baltimore-DC Graduates Est & Landmark Forum site on Facebook- I am moved by the true words that Laurel writes – I never met Neil and feel the deep love and possibility of his spirit SELF -So Neil – where’s the Party!!
    To all the Leaders – I love you and thank you for taking yourself on and being a Trans formative Leader for US –

  5. Neil Mahoney and people who assisted at my EST Training changed my life! Neil led my first of two weekends for the EST Training in December of 1982 in Edison, New Jersey. He had trained as a psychologist, held a PhD, and played rugby. He was a tough man and he led with passion and commitment to those around him. I later assisted with him at “Youth at Risk” in the forests of western Massachusetts. We built a ropes course out of flowing treetops, where we created a swaying platform from which to stand and travel by ropes to the ground. I and these teenagers from New York City learned that weekend that anything was possible!

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