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James Magee

James Shallcross Magee

Monday, January 23rd, 1933 - Tuesday, December 17th, 2019
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James Shallcross Magee (January 23, 1933 to December 17, 2019)

Jim spent his childhood in Pennsylvania. Following Jim’s graduation from Radnor High School, Jim spent the summer volunteering at a Quaker workcamp in Donesi, Italy. He spoke with pride recalling where he, along with a group from around the world, built the foundation for the first school for the very poor town.

Since a teen Jim knew what field he wanted to go into. In high school he read the first volume of the memoirs of Winston Churchill, “The Gathering Storm.” He also studied Woodrow Wilson. Jim graduated from Hamilton College (member Phi Beta Kappa) and went on a Fulbright to London School of Economics. He received his MA and Ph.D. from Princeton University with a stopover at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C.

Jim served 2 years in US Army including Chaplain’s Assistant in Chicago.

On a 1954 transatlantic crossing Jim met his former wife Judy, beginning a correspondence which led to marriage after her college graduation. Jim’s first ten years of teaching were at Grinnell College where he was political science department chair for 4 ½ years. In 1968 he won an Associated Colleges of the Midwest Non-Western Studies Fellowship to pursue his study of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa at Haile Selassie University (now Addis Ababa University) in Ethiopia. Jim and Judy packed up their young family and lived in Addis Ababa for six months while they also explored the beauties of Ethiopia. Upon leaving Grinnell for Eastern Michigan, he was presented with a PPPE chair with the inscription: “to Jim Magee, who for ten years has captured our hearts and minds.”

In 1972 Jim was hired by Eastern Michigan University to create a new Political Science Department from the History Department. A rising star at EMU, Jim was promoted to Vice President of Academic Affairs from 1975-77. In April of 1977, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. After his recovery, Jim returned to the Political Science Department (occasionally serving as Department Chair and Undergraduate Academic Advisor) to cement his career as an excellent professor.

Jim joined a team of colleagues at the University of Michigan (known informally as the War Studies Group), which enjoyed discussion and research into new areas of history and politics. In 1992, he was the recipient of EMU’s Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award. The nomination letter stated in part, Jim, “a teacher of the finest caliber who is totally committed to students. Students are stimulated and challenged by his classes in an open and supportive atmosphere…his commitment to the learning process is legendary.” Jim has maintained personal relationships with many students and co-workers.

In 2004 Jim settled in Maple Grove, Minnesota with his wife Joyce. Ever the romantic ,Jim proposed to Joyce in Paris a top the Arc de Triumph. In their retirement, they continued Jim’s extensive travels. Since going to his first baseball game Sept 5, 1947 and first World Series October 5, 1950 (Yankees vs Phillies), Jim has followed the game with statistical and fun memories to recap. Since coming to Minnesota he’s become an avid MN Twins fan.

Jim was a compassionate man with a great smile and sense of humor. His children fondly remember how he could spin enchanting (palace) stories and loved reading aloud children’s classics. He was an avid photographer of his children and travels. His lengthy studies of George Marshall gave him joy along with sharing his writings of the man. Jim continued a multi-generational stamp collection, had a fondness for the Minnesota orchestra, impressionist art, and theater. He appreciated nature and could sit on the deck and lookout upon the water, coffee in hand for hours. Jim shared his wife’s fondness for her prize Lhasa Apsos, frequently with the dogs nestled in his lap.

Jim is predeceased by his parents, Leigh Jarden and Esther Shallcross Magee and his sister Leigh “Susie” Schuerholz. Jim is survived by his wife Joyce Magee, former wife Judy Magee, sister Joan Magee, children: Robin Magee (Henri Gavin), Stephen Magee, Caitlin Magee (Kendall Halbert) and grandchildren: Benjamin and Eric Gavin, Emily McClure and Kendall Halbert, Jr. Also by many relatives, former students, and friends.

Celebration of life service will be held at Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel, 13745 Reimer Drive, Maple Grove, MN. 55311 Monday, February 24th at 10 AM followed by a reception. Visitation 1 hour prior to service.

Memorials to charity of your choice in Jim’s name. Interment later this spring at Radnor Friends Meeting, Conestoga Road, Villanova, PA.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Monday, February 24th, 2020 | 9:00am - 10:00am
    Monday, February 24th, 2020 9:00am - 10:00am
    Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel
    13745 Reimer Drive
    Maple Grove, MN 55311
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Memorial

    Monday, February 24th, 2020 | 10:00am
    Monday, February 24th, 2020 10:00am
    Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel
    13745 Reimer Drive
    Maple Grove, MN 55311
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Pastor Alan Naumann
  • Reception

    Monday, February 24th, 2020 |
    Monday, February 24th, 2020
    Kozlak-Radulovich Maple Grove Chapel
    13745 Reimer Drive
    Maple Grove, MN 55311
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Caitlin, Ken, Kenny and Emily sent flowers to the family of James Shallcross Magee.
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Caitlin, Ken, Kenny and Emily

Posted at 01:46pm
With loving memories of my precious Dad. You will be in my heart forever.
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Caitlin, Ken, Kenny and Emily purchased flowers for the family of James Magee. Send Flowers


Greg Thielmann

Posted at 06:21pm
James Magee -- In Memoriam
By Greg Thielmann -- Arlington, Virginia
All of us can remember favorite teachers; we treasure the ways that they have influenced our lives. Now retired, I look back on my 30+ years as a foreign affairs professional and remember my undergraduate political science professor, James Magee, with particular fondness. As a 1972 graduate of Grinnell College, I only had a three-year overlap with him, but during those years, Jim became my mentor and guide into the complexities of international affairs. His sense of history and appreciation for irony inspired me and profoundly influenced my understanding of how the world works. I had the additional good fortune to see our relationship evolve in later years into one between friends and professional colleagues. While posted to the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany, my wife and I enjoyed seeing him in Europe. During multiple visits to Ypsilanti, Michigan, I spoke to his University of Eastern Michigan classes and I accompanied him to his regular meetings with the Military Affairs Study Group in Ann Arbor. And when I was honored to receive an Honorary Doctorate Degree at Grinnell College in 2009, I was simultaneously honored by his presence at the ceremony. My remarks then provided an opportunity to express in public my personal gratitude for his contributions, knowing that they extended far beyond me and my cohort. In this memorial message, I offer my final salute.

Kenneth M. Coleman

Posted at 08:04am
Jim Magee was a breath of fresh air to the political science students at Grinnell College in the 1960s. Not that the air was stuffy, but he was approachable, friendly - within the proper professorial type of friendliness, supportive, and intellectually engaging. Most of all, he was fun! His worst put-down, "that was a long run for a short slide," revealed his love of baseball and was delivered with incomparable guy-grace. And he gave good advice, even if requiring a little tough love. He discouraged me from applying to Princeton for a Ph.D. Both Princeton and I are the better for that advice. I hope I modeled Jim somewhat as a young professor. Had I been fully cognizant of the role, I would have tried more assiduously to have modeled Jim.
Kenneth M. Coleman, Ph.D. [from elsewhere).

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