Donald C. Mahan, 78, died August 15, 2016, at his home.

Mahan was a researcher, teacher and swine nutritionist. He received the New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award – equivalent to a lifetime achievement award – on July 19. The award is presented by the American Feed Industry Association and the Federation of Animal Science Societies. 

Mahan was born to Clarence and Irene Mahan on May 28, 1938, in East Chicago, Indiana. After living in Hessville for a few years, his family moved to a farm near Lowell, where he graduated from high school in 1956. He then obtained his B.S. degree in animal science from Purdue University before working as a County Youth Agent in Sullivan, Indiana, where he met and married Amy Jo Osburn before returning to Purdue for graduate school. After completing his M.S. degree there and his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, he began his professional career at The Ohio State University in 1969.

Throughout his career, he received many awards; mentored graduate students at OSU; authored or co-authored more than 175 refereed journal articles and more than 400 other publications; and personally presented his research results more than 365 times around the world in 50 countries and the United States. He was a member of many professional organizations and was an active reviewer for several nutrition journals. He was well known globally for his selenium and vitamin E research, but also was recognized for his research in other areas. His multi-parity sow research studies demonstrated sows' requirement for calcium and phosphorus and that organic selenium resulted in more pigs, healthier pigs, fewer sow parturition problems and greater milk selenium for multiple parities. He identified the need for vitamin C, high-quality dried whey, lactose and chloride for the early weaned pig. His research was the basis for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of organic and inorganic selenium. His body composition research studies with sows and growing/finishing pigs helped establish the mineral needs of swine. Mahan was one of the organizers of the Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference and served on the planning committee for its entirety. He made presentations at the conference numerous times during the past 16 years; his last presentation was in 2014.


He was actively involved in many church ministries throughout his lifetime, and was a member of the Linworth Baptist Church in Worthington, Indiana.

Mahan is survived by his wife, Jo; three daughters, Melanie Mahan, Jean (Eric) Snider, and Laurie (Eric) Vendel; 10 grandchildren; one grandson-in-law; and one brother, Gene (Marsha) Mahan.

A funeral service was held August 20, with a private family interment at Kingwood Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 1550 Old Henderson Road, Ste. N-160, Columbus, OH 43220 in memory of Don. To send condolences to the family, visit