It is with great sorrow that we share the passing of beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother Maurice (“Whitey”) Magsamen, who passed away peacefully from a staph infection in Santa Rosa on May 8, 2020 at the age of 84, with family by his side. Maurice was born to Jerome and Theresa Magsamen on March 30, 1936 in Petersburg, Nebraska. He had an older brother Ben (on right in photo) – who sadly passed away the same week. He is survived by his brothers Cletus and Frank Magsamen, and sister Mary Kay Adams.
Maurice attended Iowa State and while in Iowa, he met and married his lifelong love, Carmelita (Whitesell) Magsamen. Maurice and Carmelita moved to California in 1964. During their marriage they had three children, John Magsamen, Anna Sierra and Theresa Plyler. Maurice worked for CalTrans, helping design the massive freeway and aqueduct systems in the Los Angeles area before moving to northern California. He finished obtaining his degree in Civil Engineering from Sonoma State University and worked for the City of Santa Rosa as a civil engineer for 30 years until his retirement.
Maurice loved geology, and tending to his beautiful gardens. He was an impressive athlete, completing more than 20 marathons, and many century rides. He was actively involved with the Santa Rosa Cycling Club for many years, and completed their “Terrible Two” bike ride – one of the most challenging endurance cycling events in America. More often than not, Maurice could be spotted on his bicycle throughout the beautiful rolling hills of Sonoma county. Cycling was his passion, and one he avidly pursued for decades. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by riding across the United States on his bicycle while in his late sixties, dipping his bicycle wheel into the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast, and again into the Atlantic Ocean in Maine a few weeks later.
Fiercely loyal, Maurice was a man of great integrity, compassion and intelligence, who loved the outdoors. In addition to his three children, Maurice was also the proud grandfather of five grandchildren – Madeleine, Evan and Meredith Sierra, and Russell and Samantha Plyler. But most of all, he was a devoted husband who remained steadfast and caring throughout his wife Carmelita’s lengthy illness.
His children decided that instead of wearing a traditional suit, Maurice would be buried in his biking attire, which we believe would have made him smile. Ride onwards into the sunset Dad…you will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Maurice’s name to the American Diabetes Association.
Carmelita (Whitesell) Magsamen
It is with great sorrow that we share the passing of beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and sister Carmelita Magsamen, who passed away after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 81. Carmelita passed peacefully at home on August 17, 2023, with her three adult children by her side. Carmelita was the oldest of three children born to Therald John and Catherine (Maher) Whitesell on August 9, 1942, in Waterloo, Iowa. She had a brother John Whitesell (deceased) and is survived by her sister Kathryn Crawford.
Carmelita was preceded in death by her devoted husband Maurice, to whom she was married for over 50 years. She is survived by their three children – John Magsamen, Anna Sierra, and Theresa Plyler. Carmelita managed to attend nursing school at night while still working and raising three kids. She earned her bachelor’s degree and became a licensed R.N., which was her primary career. She worked at Sonoma County Hospital and later at Memorial Hospital, where she cared for hundreds of patients in Orthopedics, the Cardiac Unit, and in the Operating Room.
Carmelita was an avid runner for many years, completing many races throughout Sonoma County. A life-long learner, she loved reading (especially historical biographies), attending lectures, the theatre, and never missed a BBC adaptation of a Jane Austin novel. In retirement, Carmelita was her mother’s loyal caretaker for many years. She also enjoyed being a dog mom, taking yoga classes, and spending time with her five grandchildren – Madeleine, Evan, and Meredith Sierra, and Russell and Samantha Plyler.
Carmelita will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Carmelita’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association.