Distinguished Alumnus
Class of 2016

Thomas F. (Tim) Monahan

AHS Class of 1957

Tim was born March 16, 1939, the oldest son of Tom (’27) and Mary Cunningham Monahan (’29). While in high school, Tim received an award as a four year academic scholar. He was on the Torch staff, Arco-Lite newspaper staff and in class plays. He was a four year member of the football and basketball teams and participated in track. Tim was a letterman on Lou Baker’s undefeated football teams of 1954 and 1955. As stated in the yearbook, Tim’s goal in life was to own a business.

Tim attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1961 with a Marketing and Finance degree. He was a member of the Notre Dame football team and a member of the Monogram Club. He was reunion chairman for the 25th anniversary of the Notre Dame class of 1961 with over 400 attendees. He served as president of the Notre Dame Club of Puerto Vallarta from 2000-2010, with the club receiving an award as the Notre Dame international club of the year in 2003. Following graduation from Notre Dame, Tim went to graduate school at the University of Chicago, earning an MBA in Finance. He also studied at the University of Illinois and Ave Maria University in Florida.

On February 25, 1963, Tim married Joan Rivas in New Orleans. They moved to Arcola, and Tim began his career at the Monahan Company with a vision of building the company and helping to improve the community of Arcola and its schools. The first major achievement was to develop a way to commercialize the processing of broom corn, and by 1964, the Monahan Company was the first to economically prepare broom corn for brooms. Processing plants were set up in Colorado (1968), Mexico (1972) and Hungary (1993). Other business ventures included a hog farm in New Mexico, the purchase of Progress Industries in Arthur and the First National Bank of Oakland. Tim assisted his brother Jim as they developed Handles USA into the world’s largest producer of metal handles at a rate of over 50 million per year. In 2007, Specialty Filaments of Vermont was purchased and is now operating in Arcola as Monahan Filaments under the direction of sons Jon, Matt and Chris. Tim has three patents, served on the Eastern Illinois University business advisory board, the East Central Illinois Development Association board to attract jobs to central Illinois, and is proud that the Monahan Company was awarded the Business Ethics and Social Involvement award in 1993. The Monahan Company at one time had 350 employees in all their affiliates and sales 65 times larger than 1960. These are some of Tim’s accomplishments that fulfilled his stated high school goal of becoming a business owner.

As a community servant, Tim has been involved in numerous organizations. He served on the Arcola Foundation Board for seven years, was Chamber of Commerce President in 2001 and 2002, Rotary Citizen of the year in 2014 and a charter member of the World Famous Lawn Rangers. Tim and his brothers Pat, Joe and Jim, were the Grand Marshals for the 2008 Broom Corn Festival. He has been involved with, and is a lifelong member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Tim has also given financial support to many worthwhile community projects.

Tim and Joan Monahan are two of the Arcola schools’ biggest supporters. Tim, along with his parents, three brothers and nine children are all AHS graduates. Tim and the Monahan Company financed the school fitness center in 1985. It provided students, staff, employees and community an opportunity to improve conditioning and health. He headed up the “One on One” project in 2014, raising $700,000 to furnish a computer for every student and teacher, in an effort to become leaders in technology. Arcola schools were the first in Illinois to have computers for every student grades K-12.

According to Tim, the good people of Arcola have made life fun and successful. He credits his parents, brothers and special people at the Monahan Company like Ella Mae Portugal, Naomi Rothrock, Donnie Ghere, Harry Ghere and Eva Anderson for the success of the company. Tim is most proud of his wife, Joan, who has made it possible for him to accomplish so much in life. He says his kids, Tom, Anne, Molly, Jon, Patrick, Matthew, Chris, Mark and Catherine, worked very hard in school and were successful. The six boys all played on Arcola Purple Rider state championship football teams and the girls were also successful in athletics and academics. All nine continued their studies and received college degrees. Tim stresses that the Arcola schools, with great teachers and coaches, made this possible.

Tim Monahan is an example of an individual who had his priorities and goals in life correct. He has dedicated his life to family, church, school, business and community.

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Last Revision November 11, 2017