P. Seth Magosky


Text Box: Seth was a founding member and Vice-President of the Midwest Civil War Civilian Education, Inc, a not-for-profit organization which sponsors the annual civilian conference in the Chicago area.  To honor his work for the reenacting community and commitment to the pursuit of excellence in authenticity, we are pursuing an idea we discussed on chilly evenings in our tent.
Those of you who have been to the conference know that traditionally he had that awkward sleepy speaker spot after lunch on Saturday - because his enthusiasm woke every one up from their after lunch nap time!
In that spirit we would like to start collections for an endowment to enable us to invite special memorial speakers to the conference.  Memorials may be made to http://www.midwestcwcivilian.com/.  Paypal instructions may be found on the registration form along with a mailing address for checks.
If you choose to do this, please mark the check, or Paypal payment as "Seth Magosky Endowment Fund"  so that it is clearly separate from the general fund for tax purposes.  The fund will be set up as a separate entity within the very near future.
We are also collecting photos and written memories of Seth, which we plan to put together in a special web presentation.  Please send those to Kay Gnagey. 
Words cannot describe the loss felt by all of us, but let us collect memories - to keep history alive.  How very much in Seth's spirit such endeavors will be!













Seth was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. His first love had always been history, with a direct interest on the Victorian Era. His first program on Architectural History was given at age 12 and he had been doing programs ever since. He attended the University of Illinois Chicago where he studied History of Architecture and Art, and Theater Costume Design. With these two majors it is fitting that he would move into the field of Living History. "My choice of characters has been a 5 year process."

Beginning with his portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in 1996, he had developed other characters. Growing up in the Chicago area has of course directed his choice. Marshall Field was such a dynamic and powerful merchant, "His personality just leaps from the pages of books I have read." Potter Palmer has a little more personal meaning. "My great-great-grandmother was an indentured servant for Mr. Palmer in his lake shore castle. She eventually rose to the position of upstairs maid. It was while she worked there that she met my great-great-grandfather who was carriage driver for the Palmers. They were married in St. Patrick's church in Chicago, then moved to Joliet.


The following column came from the Herald News in Joliet.


Joliet resident, Herald News columnist dies


March 20, 2007


JOLIET -- Local historian and Herald News columnist Seth Magosky died suddenly this weekend.

Magosky, 39, was found dead Saturday morning in his home, the Hiram B. Scutt mansion, 206 N. Broadway.

A Realtor, Magosky and his parents purchased the mansion in October with plans to open a public museum of the Victorian era on the first floor.

A lifelong resident of Joliet, Magosky wrote "Historic Impressions," a feature containing history and architectural details of the city's structures that appeared regularly in the Sunday's Life section.

His older brother, Cean, said Seth received his interest in architecture and history from his parents.

"But he took it to a whole new level, even as a kid," Cean Magosky said. "He did a book report on an architectural history in the seventh grade."

Magosky attended St. Patrick's School and Joliet Catholic High School before studying architecture and art history at University of Illinois at Chicago.

"Seth was an excellent resource for the community," said Rebecca Lantka, marketing communications manager for the city of Joliet's Tourism Bureau.

"We were constantly in awe of the knowledge he had of the area's history and he will certainly be missed," Lantka said.

Besides being known throughout the area, Magosky's enthusiasm for history was known nationwide. Cean Magosky said his brother had just returned from a speaking tour of the southeastern states where he gave presentations on the Civil War era.

"Nobody else knew what Seth knew," said Herald News features editor Jan Larsen. "He was a painstaking researcher. Some people would just make a guess, but Seth had to prove what had happened. Accuracy was very important to him."

Magosky was preparing a second collection of his "Historic Impression" columns and writing a series on period clothing designs for a historical re-enactment magazine.

Cean Magosky said his brother's biggest accomplishment as a re-creationist was when he portrayed John Wilkes Booth in a special for Discovery Channel last year.

"He was also a sought-after dance caller for groups sponsoring Civil War (era) dances," he said.

Magosky was also a longtime participant in the annual Gnome Show at Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park and frequently sang with a folk music group organized by his brother Cean.

Will County Coroner Patrick K. O'Neil said the cause of Magosky's death remains under investigation, but does not appear to be the result of foul play.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Carlson-Holmquist Funeral Home, 2320 Black Road. A burial Mass will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Patrick's Church, 710 W. Marion St.

Reporter Brian Stanley can be reached at (815) 729-6079 or bstanley@scn1.com


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