Jesus (Jesse) Magaña (1931-2018

Jesus (Jesse) Magaña, 86, passed away Dec. 17, 2018, at his home in rural Ellsworth County surrounded by family. He was born Dec. 25, 1931 in Kanopolis.   
Jesse’s initiative and leadership potential was recognized at early age. A local cattleman, George Andrews, employed the teen and taught him to be a cowboy. The purchase of his first horse in 1949 launched his lifelong ownership of equines and cattle. Sometimes his cowboy antics got him into trouble.  After high school, he worked for the Independent Salt Co. and the Union Pacific Railroad. With an enterprising penchant for hard work and adventure, Jesse left Kansas with friends in 1951 to explore Mexico, with no plans to return. All changed upon his receipt of a telegram. His old employer, Eddie Schneider, a local farmer/rancher, had unexpectedly died and his widow asked Jesse to return to assist with the business operation. Working for Mrs. Schneider, he honed his farming and ranching skills.  
Jesse lived his whole life in the Kanopolis area except while serving in the U.S. Army when stationed in France. Over the years, he expanded his cattle and farming operations to include hundreds of acres of owned and leased land. He had many occupations where he gained valuable knowledge and experience and established lifelong relationships. Helping others was Jesse’s passion. He was employed by Graves Truck Line for 14 years and served as Local Teamsters Union Steward. During the 1970s and 1980s, Jesse broadened his leadership to state and national levels. He was appointed by two Kansas Governors to serve on the Council on Manpower Planning and Services from 1972 to 1980. A champion for the underdog and a strong advocate for justice and civil rights for the Mexican American and other underserved communities, Jesse joined the American GI Forum, a national Mexican-American Veterans Organization and served as State Chairman in Kansas. In that capacity, he mentored many minority youth in an effort to increase their enrollment into college. Jesse served on the Board of Directors and as the National Vice Chairman and Treasurer of SER (Service Employment & Redevelopment) Jobs for Progress, a job training program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor from 1979 to 1987 that is still operating today. He ran for the Kansas State House of Representatives.
 Jesse was a member of the Rural Life Commission, Salina Catholic Diocese, the Knights of Columbus, and served 12 years as Church Council President, St. Ignatius Parish in Kanopolis. He was an elected Clear Creek Township Trustee, Ellsworth County. He was also a Member of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb., the Land Institute of Salina, Kan., and the Kansas Livestock Association. He co-chaired the Ellsworth Medical Center fundraising drive which exceeded their $1M goal.
Jesse married the love of his love, Diana Lee Schwerdtfeger in 1953. She survives along with children, Famia Magaña Quattlebaum (John) of Spring Branch, Texas, Audie Magaña (Susie) of Junction City, Clay Magaña (Terry) of Wichita, Velinda Magaña of Brookville, Jesse Lee Magaña (Lori) of Manhattan; 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and siblings, Frank Magaña, of Kansas City and Concepcion Magaña, of Wichita.
Jesse was predeceased in death by his parents, Jesus E. and Sara M. Magana; great-grandchild, Cataleya Francisca Garcia-Moreno; and siblings, Theresa Magaña and Albina Mesa, of Kanopolis, Socorro Hernandez, of Salina, Esperanza Rios and Celestino Magaña of Ohio, Andrew Magana of California, and Virginia Caldwell of Arizona.
Visitation is 1-8 p.m. today (Thursday, Dec. 20), at Parsons Funeral Home, Ellsworth, with family present from 5-7 p.m. and rosary/vigil service at 7 p.m.
Funeral mass is at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Kanopolis, with burial following in the Kanopolis Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Ignatius Catholic Church and Harvest Bible Church, in care of Parsons Funeral Home, PO Box 45, Ellsworth, Kan. 67439.

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Breaking News: 
No