Robert S. Magnusson

May 1, 1923 – Nov 28, 2015

Robert S Magnusson obituary image 1



Bob was born in Seattle, Washington (Ballard) on May 1, 1923 to Jon and Gudrun Magnusson and died on November 28, 2015 (the day after watching his beloved Huskies win the Apple Cup).  He was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Dorothy, in 1998, wife Margaret in 2004, and wife Beverly in 2013, daughter Marie in 1961, and sisters Sigga Spurlock and Anna Hodgson.  Bob is survived by his son, Jon Magnusson (Nancy), sister Florence Reep, three grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.  He is also survived by two stepsons, three stepdaughters, twelve step-grandchildren, and many loving nieces and nephews.

After graduating from Ballard High School in 1940, Bob enrolled at the University of Washington in engineering.  His time in college was interrupted by three years of military service during World War II.  Following graduation from Officers Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, VA, he served in the European Theater in England, France, and Germany in an engineer combat battalion. 

After the war Bob reentered the UW and graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering in June, 1947.  While at the UW he was a member of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity and was on Washington’s swim team.

After graduation Bob joined the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and after a short time he left to become one of the first employees of the John H. Sellen Construction Company.  After forty years of helping to build a very respected and successful company, he retired as Vice Chairman of the Board.

Bob enjoyed life but never more than when attending gatherings of family and friends.  He was so proud of his entire family and treasured his relationship with several long-time friends.  For each member of the family, he was a great role model of unconditional love and always doing the right thing.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Thursday, December 10th at Bethel Lutheran Church, 17418 8th Ave NE, Shoreline.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to “The Dorothy A. Magnusson Endowment” for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation, PO Box 5371, Seattle, WA  98145.


Sheffield William Bailey, III
San Luis Obispo, CA
Dec 14, 2015

I was fortunate to know Bob Magnusson because of his marriage to my mother, Beverly. They met while residents at the Hearthstone Retirement Community. At the Hearthstone, they enjoyed each other’s company and married July 23, 2005. The early years of their marriage were filled with love, laughter, travel and the enjoyment of family and friends. Bob was a perfect husband who loved mom not only through the good times, but also when things became difficult near the end of her life. His love changed her life.

As he approached the end of his life he shared with me just how lucky he felt to have lived the life he had, and how at peace he was with his coming passing. His final words of advice were to remind me to “take it (life) one day at a time.”

Bob was an exceedingly intelligent and complex man who accomplished a great deal in his life. He left the world a better place because of the way he lived and a poorer one for his passing. Of all his many accomplishments, I believe his greatest legacy is the love he shared with his family and friends.

Seattle, WA
Dec 10, 2015

I worked with Bob for many years. He treated his subcontractors great and they loved him. I played golf with him. He was a great friend and I will miss him.

Todd Henry
Bellevue, WA
Dec 10, 2015

Mr. Magnusson was larger than life when he hired me at Sellen Construction in the mid-80s. Though initially intimidated by him, I came to know him as not only extraordinarily capable in his work, but as an often funny, always caring man. Those of us who had the great fortune of working for Mr. Magnusson, learned a lot about working hard and managing people from him. When suspenders came back into fashion in the mid-80s, I was initially unsure about what to do about those empty belt loops, and so I arrived one morning wearing both braces and a belt. Mr. Magnusson looked me up and down, nodded and said, "pessimist?" I chuckle every time I remember that morning. Very sorry he is gone, because he had such influence over so many.

Janet (Norlund) Howald
Olympia, WA
Dec 9, 2015

Bob was very much loved and be so missed. He was a school and lifetime friend of my dad, Alf Norlund. Bob was the "M" in the group of Ballard guys of M,N,O,P.

Subsequently, he was like a second dad to me in my youth as our families did a lot of trailer camping together. There are many great memories of all those trips. And, there was always my favorite orange soda waiting for me with a big smile when we would visit.

Bob was one of a kind and a true gentleman.

Rachel Ralston
Columbus, OH
Dec 6, 2015

What a great guy. He is missed very, very much.

Stephen Davis
Ferndale, WA
Dec 5, 2015

I miss Bob he was a great friend to Carol and I when he married Margaret. We all loved him. Steve

Cari (Davis) Chan
Bellingham , Wa
Dec 4, 2015

Bob married my grandma, Margaret, so that makes me one of his 12 step-grandchildren! We all loved Bob. He was such a kind soul. He will be dearly missed.

Bob Ostrom
Seattle, WA
Dec 4, 2015

Bob Magnusson and my older brother (Don Ostrom - now deceased) were lifetime best friends. Together, they went thru all grades graduating from Ballard in 1940 and the UW in 1947 (after a three year WWII interruption) They belonged to the same fraternity and remained lifetime Husky supporters. My brother Don alway thought of "Mag" as the best.

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