James Robert Maher, 59, Dies; Retired Executive Served Trade Group

James Maher was active with the Boy Scouts.
James Maher was active with the Boy Scouts. (Courtesy Of The American Land Title Association - Courtesy Of The American Land Title Association)
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Monday, May 18, 2009

James Robert Maher, 59, a retired executive with the American Land Title Association, died May 5 of kidney cancer at his home in McLean.

Mr. Maher joined the American Land Title Association, the trade association for the abstract and title insurance industry, as general counsel in 1984 and was promoted to executive vice president four years later. He was responsible for managing the association's legislative, legal and research activities, as well as its education and public relations work. He retired from ALTA in 2007 but continued working as secretary and counsel of the Title Industry Assurance Company and the Title Reinsurance Company. He also was a board member of Mortgage Electronics Registration Systems.

He was born in Stamford, Conn., and grew up in Greenwich, where he became an Eagle Scout at age 14 and represented scouting at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. He received his undergraduate degree in public affairs in 1970 and his law degree in 1974, both from American University.

He worked for 10 years for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, first as an attorney and adviser in the Home Mortgage Division and later as a trial attorney in the agency's Inspector General and Administrative Procedures Division. At HUD, he was primary counsel for the implementation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Mr. Maher attended Trinity United Methodist Church in McLean, where he was a member of the finance committee. He remained active in scouting, leading his son's troop on an 80-mile hike at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 1995, a year after his first surgery for kidney cancer. He also served three years as president of the Langley High School Band Association, never missing a concert or out-of-town band trip.

His passions included Civil War history and the music of Gilbert and Sullivan. He wasn't a musician or athlete himself, but he was a fan of the Washington Savoyards and the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, as well as the Washington Nationals. His wife noted that while he was in hospice care during the last month of his life, he never missed an inning of a Nationals game and "followed Ryan Zimmerman's batting streak with quiet anticipation and boundless joy."

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Kathy Boyer Maher of McLean, and a son, Matthew Maher of Vienna.

-- Joe Holley

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