Bob Magee, Highly Respected Philanthropist and Shipping Executive, Passes Away at 61

January 2010

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Robert Magee Jr.Robert P. “Bob” Magee Jr., a highly respected philanthropist who headed the American Shipping Group, passed away Nov. 30 at his home in Tacoma, Wash., following a courageous three-year battle with cancer. He was 61.

Reactions to the news reflected deep, genuine appreciation for Magee’s contributions both to the American maritime industry and the community.

“He was a unique individual,” said SIU President Mike Sacco, who worked with Magee for many years. “He was very perceptive and his word was his bond. He was very good with charities…. He was a great guy to work with, a great individual.”

SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, who also knew Magee for a long time, said the word that best describes him is “honorable. Bob’s word and handshake were more trusted than most written contracts. Our industry really suffered a great loss, and it’s also a personal loss to me.”

Tellez added that Magee wouldn’t hesitate to go out of his way to help others, never expecting anything in return.

James L. Henry, chairman and president of the Transportation Institute, said Magee “was a true leader in our industry and in civic affairs. He was a visionary and he certainly will be missed.”

A former mariner, Magee – among many other endeavors – at various times chaired the Tacoma-Pierce County (Wash.) Chamber and the University of Washington Tacoma Milgard School of Business advisory committee. He served as campaign chairman for the United Way of Pierce County and was a longtime member of the Thea Foss Waterway Development Authority board of directors. He was a member of the board of directors of the Transportation Institute, an organization dedicated to U.S. security and American-flag interests.

A Philadelphia native, Magee earned numerous maritime and civic honors, including the Admiral of the Ocean Sea award in 2004. He was known for his generosity, insight and effectiveness.

Not to be overlooked, according to those who knew him, is that Magee also was a very dedicated family man. He and his wife were married in 1972, and they raised two daughters. Those three family members are among his survivors.

On Nov. 30, American Shipping Group parent company Saltchuk Resources, Inc. released a statement crediting Magee for having “played a major role in building and defining us. He began working for Totem Ocean Trailer Express in May 1986 as vice president marine operations. Bob went on to become president and chief operating officer of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, later chairman of Sea Star Line LLC, and then chairman and chief operating officer of American Shipping Group.

“Bob was instrumental in conceiving and overseeing the successful construction and delivery of the Alaska ORCA ships and was also the champion on the creation of Sea Star,” the statement continued. “Bob will be missed by all of us – those who work in our family of companies, our customers, labor partners, vendors, public policy representatives, members of our industry and the communities in which we serve.”

Memorial services took place in New Jersey and in Washington State.

Donations in Bob Magee’s memory may be made to:

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
P.O. Box 19023
Seattle, WA 98109

Please include Bob’s name, and list Marie Magee as the next-of-kin so that she will be informed of the donation.


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