Carmelita Magsamen

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.

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