Walter J. Mahoney was born in Buffalo on March 10, 1908. He received his law degree from the State University of New York of Buffalo and was admitted to practice in 1934. He was a reporter for the former Buffalo Times before being elected to the New York State Senate in 1936. He served in the Senate for 28 years. From 1954 to 1964 he was temporary President and Majority Leader, holding these positions longer than any other State Senator. In 1965, Governor Rockefeller named Justice Mahoney to the State Thruway Authority. He resigned from that position after being elected in 1967 to the State Supreme Court. In 1974, Governor Malcolm Wilson appointed Justice Mahoney to this Court. He retired in 1977 to return to private practice in Buffalo. He died at the age of 73 on March 1, 1982.