In Memoriam: John F. Magee (1926-2014)

John F. Magee

John F. Magee, a former president of both ORMS and TIMS (the organizations merged in 1995 to create INFORMS) and a 1978 recipient of the Kimball Medal from ORSA for distinguished service to the Society and the profession, died May 5, 2014, of a heart attack at his home in Concord, Mass. He was 87.

Mr. Magee spent his entire professional career with the consulting firm Arthur D. Little, Inc., starting as a member of the company’s Operations Research Group in 1950. Over the years, he advanced through the ranks, serving as head of the O.R. Group beginning in 1959, as head of the Management Services Division from 1963-1968, as president of the company from 1972-1986, as chief executive officer from 1974-1988 and as chairman of the board from 1986-1998.

Mr. Magee earned a B.A. degree from Bowdoin College in 1945, an MBA from Harvard in 1948 and a master’s degree in mathematics and economics from the University of Maine in 1952. His undergraduate education at Bowdoin was interrupted by World War II, when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was commissioned as an ensign, serving as an interpreter and translator in the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Mr. Magee is the author of “Production Planning and Inventory Control,” the first edition of which was published by McGraw-Hill in 1958, with a second edition in 1967. He is also the author of “Physical Distributions Systems” and of  “Industrial Logistics: Analysis and Management of Physical Supply and Distribution Systems,” published by McGraw-Hill in 1967 and 1968, respectively. He contributed to many other texts, and is the author of several technical papers and survey articles in the fields of management and management science.

In addition, Mr. Magee served on the board of directors of many companies and institutions, including the Houghton Mifflin Company and John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company. He was also a trustee emeritus and former chairman of Bowdoin College, a trustee and governor of the New England Aquarium, a member of the Trustee Council of the Boston University Medical Center, a member of the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, director of the Board of Emerson Hospital and the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center.

While working on his MBA at Harvard, Mr. Magee met Dorothy Hundley, then a student at Wellesley College. They married in 1949 and enjoyed 60 years together before her death in 2009. Their philanthropic efforts included the John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Fund in 1982 to support curriculum development, faculty renewal and innovation in the academic program and the John F. and Dorothy H. Magee Faculty Chair in 2006, both at Bowdoin. 

Mr. Magee is survived by his three children – Catherine Milligan, John Magee and Andrew Magee – along with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Sources: Bowdoin College (Barry Mills), INFORMS