Emon Armstrong Mahony Jr. was born in El Dorado, Union County, Arkansas, on May 5, 1941.
Mahony received a B.A. in English and a J.D. from Tulane University and earned a Master of Laws at Stanford University.
Mahony returned to Arkansas to practice law before going to Washington, DC, as senior aide for Senator John McClellan in 1968. Mahony then became chairman of Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation from 1977 to 1996. In 1978 Governor David Pryor appointed Mahony to the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, where he served for seven years. In 2007 he was named trustee of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy. In 2009 Governor Mike Beebe appointed Mahony to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, where he served until 2016. He has served as president of Mahony Corporation since 1996.