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Raymond Magnon

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RAYMOND MAGNON

At the age of 86, long-time Riverside, California resident and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Raymond Magnon, passed away during the early morning of April 24, 2017. Ray, as he was known to friends and family, had been afflicted by a gradual decline in health after suffering a stroke in 2009.
Ray was born to Frank and Caroline (née Mastro) Magnon in Niles, Ohio. As a child he loved building model airplanes and later on hot rods, which may explain why he became an airplane mechanic in the U.S. Air Force. In 1944 when Ray was 14 years old, his family moved from Ohio to Riverside. He attended Poly High School, served in the Air Force as a plane mechanic during the Korean War, and later attended Chaffey College.
In the early years, Ray worked at Lockheed and at a local fiberglass company. Not too long after, Ray started his career working as an electrician. Ultimately he set off on his own and formed Service Electric. The electrical construction for many notable buildings in the City of Riverside was provided by Service Electric, including Tyler Mall. At one point in the 1970s Ray's company was the largest electrical contractor in the State of California with offices in Riverside and Fremont, wiring shopping centers up and down the state. During that time, he employed hundreds of electricians and staff. Ray owned a plane and took lessons to become a pilot to facilitate doing business on both ends of the state. Ultimately this all took a toll on his health and he was forced to remove himself from the business. He helped one of his best friends take over the company, which still operates in Riverside today under a different name.
Ray next ventured into commercial real estate development. In 1977 he founded The Magnon Companies. Many of the buildings constructed in the City of Riverside were developed and built by Magnon including buildings in the Sycamore Canyon Business Park, Hunter Park, and other areas of the City. Ray also was responsible for the construction of several apartment buildings in Canyon Crest including Bunker Hill. Many of the Magnon buildings have won awards for their design and beautification from the City and County of Riverside.
Ray had many passions in life such as Formula 1 races, tennis, traveling to Europe, collecting sports cars, and a fondness for classic jazz and crooner songs. Ray and his son Doug started the Riverside International Automotive Museum to preserve Riverside's auto racing history. The museum has evolved into a foundation for charitable activities. One of his strongest passions was being a business leader in the community and he was well known to local political leaders as a voice for the business community.
Over the years, Ray owned many businesses other than his electrical and development companies. These included several Swiss Colony franchises; a steel fabrication company, Canyon Steel; and many restaurants starting with Ryan's Wharf, Magnone, Bossa Nova Grill, Jag's, and Ciao Bella. Ray would often relax at the end of the day at one of his restaurants enjoying a glass of red wine and some Italian food with friends and family.
Ray is survived by his wife, Kelly Magnon, their son, Ryan Magnon and by his daughters from his previous marriage to Elaine Timmons Taber; Patti Oldham, Cheryl Cliff and Deanna Magnon. Ray was preceded in death by his son, Douglas Magnon. He is also survived by many loving grandchildren, nieces, nephews and step-children.
Ray was a regular contributor to causes important to his company, community, and his family, but he's remembered by many for the contributions that went unpublicized, and for which Ray himself never boasted. The Magnon Family would like to extend their thanks for the wonderful stories from established entrepreneurs and professionals who've shared how Ray helped them get their start. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to SCORE, a non-profit mentoring small-business startups: (800) 634-0245 www.score.org
Ray was truly one of a kind and will forever be missed by his family and many friends.
Services will be held at St. Thomas the Apostle, 3774 Jackson Street, Riverside on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00am.
Published in Press-Enterprise from Apr. 30 to May 1, 2017
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