MAGEE--David B., Sr. Died peacefully in White Plains Hospital on March 11th after a short illness. David Magee was born in Kuling, China, of Episcopal (Anglican) missionary parents. His father, the Reverend John Gillespie Magee Sr., served as priest-in-charge of the American Church Mission in Nanking (now Nanjing), China, from 1912 to 1940. His mother, Faith Emmeline Backhouse, went to China as a missionary from the Church of England in 1919. They were married in Kuling in 1921. In 1937, during 'the Rape of Nanking' by the Japanese, David Magee's father played a key role as a member of the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone. At that time Magee Sr. filmed the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers. In 2002 David Magee went to Nanjing and presented the home-movie camera used by his father in 1937 to the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall. After early schooling at the Hillcrest American School in Nanking, David Magee was enrolled at St. Clare School in Kent, England, which was near the family home. He then attended Charterhouse School, where he became an accomplished cricketer. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the family settled in the United States, where Magee continued his education at the Hotchkiss School, graduating in 1943. He served in what was then the U.S. Army Air Corps until 1945, when he left the Army with the rank of First Lieutenant. After the War, he completed his education at Yale, graduating in 1949 as an English major. Magee subsequently joined what was to become the Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. in New York, where he served for almost 30 years as an investment portfolio manager, retiring as a Vice President. He was married in 1950 to the late Helen J. Rice, of Brooklyn, with whom he had four children. He was later married for 43 years to Frances W. Bernhard of Rye, N.Y. As a resident of Rye, Magee was a member of Rye Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder and sang in the choir for many years. David B. Magee is survived by his wife, Frances, and his four children: Martha Rice Magee of Martha's Vineyard; David B. Magee Jr. of Salt Lake City; John G. Magee III of Fort Lauderdale; and Mary Moore Magee of Salt Lake City; also by a brother, Canon F. Hugh Magee of St. Andrews, Scotland. He is also mourned by his wife Frances' four children, her grandchildren, a niece, and three nephews, all of whom cared for him deeply. David Magee was predeceased by his brothers, Christopher W. Magee Sr. and Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., author of the well-known sonnet, High Flight. A memorial service will be celebrated at Rye Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Rye Presbyterian Church.
Published in The New York Times on Mar. 16, 2013