Former Salida resident Henry E. “Eddie” Mahe, Jr., 83, died May 3, 2020, at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He was born Aug. 12, 1936, to Henry Edward Mahe, Sr. and Guernadine Vernal (Boston) Mahe in Pueblo.
In 1947 he moved to Salida, where he graduated from high school as student body president.
He accepted one of many scholarships offered and attended the University of Denver, from which he graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
Mr. Mahe was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and a supporter of the fraternity for the rest of his life.
He later lived in Albuquerque, where he eventually became executive director of the state Republican Party.
In 1970, he moved to Austin, Texas, to manage Paul Eggers’ gubernatorial campaign, after which he purchased and ran a small local newspaper.
In 1973, he moved to Fairfax, Virginia, working at the Republican National Committee as the political director.
In 1974 he was named the executive director of the Republican National Committee, guiding the party back from the post-Watergate years, electing Republicans at every level of government and helping to take control of the House of Representatives.
While at the RNC, he set up the first diversity outreach, was the first national political leader to put women in key professional roles and created generations of political operatives.
In 1977, he left the RNC and established his own consulting firm, The Eddie Mahe Co., working for political campaigns and also for business campaigns, taking on tough issues including real estate zoning, gold mines, nuclear waste disposal, energy and defense, agriculture, especially his work with the United Soybean Board, and many more.
Mr. Mahe helped build the campaign support system for emerging democracies in the ’80s ranging from Central America to Haiti to the Philippines, creating what became the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and helped defeat the Communist Party in the first election after Granada’s liberation.
In fall 1981, he spent a semester as a teaching fellow at the Institute of Politics, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
In 1985, he co-authored “The Party Goes On” with Xandra Kayden, a look ahead to the resurgence of the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States.
Mr. Mahe also ran the campaign to bring the 1994 World Cup to the United States, as well as gaining joint hosting for South Korea with Japan in 2002.
He provided counsel to the Japanese Foreign Ministry for many years and was involved in countless other campaigns, all with challenges that he saw as opportunities.
His family said he was a student of change and never stopped learning.
In 2001, The Eddie Mahe Co. joined Foley & Lardner, an international law firm, enabling him to focus on strategic planning.
In 2016 he was inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame.
His family said God gave him great insight to interpret different situations and to be able to use this insight to benefit others in ways big and small. Even more than his many victorious campaigns, they said his greatest professional legacy was the faith he had in those who worked with him, stretching, encouraging, guiding and continually teaching them. He took great joy in seeing so many of those he mentored over the years succeed.
His family said he was a wonderful source of wisdom, understanding and good advice, but he was also generous and kind, and they are forever grateful for his influence and presence in their lives.
Mr. Mahe was preceded in death by his parents and his son, William Paul Mahe.
Survivors include his wife, Frances; daughters, Sharon Trobough, Theresa (Mark) Mezzetti, Kathy (David) Schaffer and Debbie (Doug) Fuhry; brother, Fred (Bretha) Mahe; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be announced at a future date in Albuquerque and Washington, D.C.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the University of Denver or to the charity of the giver’s choice.
Arrangements are with Neptune Cremation Service in Albuquerque.