Isabel Magnusson, 1912-2003 | SteamboatToday.com
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Isabel Magnusson, 1912-2003

Steamboat Springs and Denver resident Isabel Magnusson died Oct. 29, 2003. She was 91.

Ruth Isabel Haskell Magnusson was born Feb. 27, 1912, in Sawtelle, Calif., to Ruth King and Paul Leland Haskell.

The family moved to Illinois in 1915, and Isabel’s father died four years later.

Isabel graduated from Augustana College in 1932 with a degree in math and Latin. She taught school for two years in Carthage, Ill.

She married John Robert Magnusson, also of Rock Island, Ill., the day after school ended. The couple was married for 46 years when Bob passed away in 1980. They had four children together.

Isabel enjoyed an adventurous life with her military husband and their children. The family moved to Austria less than two years after the end of World War II. During their time in Austria, the family skied, toured most European nations and made the best of every situation.

The family lived in Fort Benning, Ga., for several years upon their return to the United States while Isabel’s husband, Lt. Col. Bob Magnusson, went to Korea as an artillery battalion commander. The family moved to Fort Sill, Okla., upon his return from Korea. The next military assignment took the Magnusson family to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where a constant flow of adventures awaited them. The most memorable trip involved flying to the head of the navigable section of the Amazon River and touring the river all the way to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.

After returning from Brazil, the family lived in Chicago, Lisbon, Portugal and Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where Isabel enjoyed a busy social life that included golfing, playing bridge and entertaining military folks.

Col. Magnusson retired from the military in 1964, after which he taught chemistry and geology at Sierra Vista High School. During this time, Isabel turned her devotion to her children and grandchildren.

Isabel never lost her lust for adventure. She seemed to be attracted to places with unrest, such as her trip to Prague one month before communists took over and a trip to Saigon a month before it fell. She also was in Yugoslavia during conflicts there and in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. She also traveled down the Mississippi, returned from England via the Concord jet and made several trips to Europe, Asia and Australia. She visited all 50 states, the last coming during a trip to North Dakota in 2001. She traveled almost completely around the world by ship, train, car and plane.

To the very end of her life, Isabel was a gracious lady. Always friendly to everyone, she knew how to deal with people ranging from the president of Portugal to a carpenter to the man on the street. She lived a very full and exemplary life. She was a member of the Denver chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution.

She is survived by Edwin Robert Magnusson, his wife, Dianne, and their sons Robert, Andrew and Rori; Barbara Ficke, her husband, Jim, and their children Jim and Roberta; John A. Magnusson, his wife, Joy, and their children John, Amy, Jay, Meri, Dana and Steve; and Jane Henninger, her husband, Don, and their children, Tina, Garth and Karin. Isabel had 15 grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Magnuson Scholarships at Augustana College, 639 38th St., Rock Island, Ill., 61201-9988, or to Children’s Hospital, 1245 E. Colfax Ave., Suite 400, Denver, CO 80218.


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