The Watertown Hall of Fame will be inducting four new members into the Hall on Friday and each day this week KXLG will highlight one new inductee. The inductees this year are David J. Law, Herb Jenson, Doug Carpenter and Jim Mahowald.
Today we honor inductee Jim Mahowald.
Mahowald has long been recognized as a prominent figure of the city, especially with the long-running Mahowald’s Hardware business.
Mahowald, born in Watertown in 1932, took over his family’s hardware store after his father died. His grandfather started the business as a harness shop in 1904. Mahowald kept the business until his retirement in 2014.
“When you’re in the business, it all counts when you’re good to people.” Mahowald said of his positive demeanor. “I smile most of the time. If I see somebody, I’ll challenge them and have to say something that’ll make them laugh because I can’t stand to see someone who’s frowning”
Mahowald grew up in Watertown, then attended high school in St. Paul, Minnesota, at St. Thomas Academy and earned a business degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He and his wife Kay have 8 children, 19 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They had another son who died in infancy.
Besides owning the local hardware, Mahowald was an active school board member for 13 years and served on the Arrow Education Foundation Board of Directors for three years.
Gov. George Mickelson appointed Mahowald to the South Dakota Transportation Commission, on which he served for 18 years.
Mahowald was also active in the Watertown Chamber of Commerce, Elks Club, American Legion, Eagle Lodge, City Planning Commission and was the chairman of the Our Own Hardware Board of Directors for seven years.
Gov. Mike Rounds declared April 27, 2005 as “James Mahowald Day” in South Dakota in recognition for his leadership and service to the community. He was awarded the Spirit of Watertown award from the Chamber of Commerce in 2015, which he credited as “just a matter of knowing a lot of people.”
In his spare time and retirement, Mahowald enjoys playing golf; hunting pheasants, ducks and geese; and watching the Twins play baseball. He is a member of the Holy Name of Jesus Parish. But overall, Mahowald just enjoys making others smile.
“I just like to be around happy people. Spin a yarn once in a while,” he said. “Be happy. Don’t be sad. Smile. It’s contagious.”
The induction ceremony will take place this Friday, November 8th at 11:30am at the Watertown Event Center.
Tickets are available by contacting the Chamber of Commerce at 605-886-5814 or by stopping at their office located at 1 East Kemp Avenue in Downtown Watertown.
Congratulations to Jim Mahowald on your induction into the Watertown Hall of Fame!