Benefactor of Catholic Education dies

Leslie S. “Mitzi” Magin, a longtime supporter of the Catholic Church and particularly for Catholic Education in Collier County died July 13, 2020. Throughout her 87 years her support was manifested in a myriad of ways.

Known for her generosity and colorful outfits, Magin was born in Chicago but grew up in California where she graduated from the University of California Berkley. After getting married to James Magin, and residing in Chicago for 24 years, where she was actively involved in numerous charities, in 1987 the couple moved to Naples.

Magin became active in the numerous charities, including St. Ann Parish, St. Ann Catholic School Foundation, St. John Neumann Catholic High School, all in Naples, as well as the Catholic Institute for Pastoral Studies (then known as the Rice School) in Port Charlotte. She was also a longtime member of the Advisory Board for the Emerald Ball, which benefits Catholic Charities of Collier County. In addition, she was involved with Ave Maria School of Law (Board of Governors and a founder of the Veterans’ Memorial Library), Professional Givers Anonymous, Naples Community Hospital (NCH Magnolia Ball to benefit cancer programs), and the NCH Healthcare Foundation. An example of her generosity can be found on the campus of St. John Neumann Catholic High School where a 35-foot Celtic Cross was dedicated to her honor in 2010.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane was saddened by the death of Magin, noting that her commitment to Catholic Education inspired others to follow her lead. “She was a dear friend who thought of others first.”

The goal of providing a proper, well-rounded learning experience for as many children as possible, was of the utmost importance to Magin and she firmly believed Catholic Education was the way to achieved that. Magin knew that although children must be fed, clothed, and given shelter, their education was the most valuable asset to their future. She is noted as saying, “By offering such, we not only help develop mind, body, and spirit but also their sense of knowing the true meaning of freedom, social justice, and peace; and that by accomplishing this, we plant a ‘seed of hope,’ not only for their future, but for all mankind.”

Magin was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, James in 2012, as well as her brother, G. Stuart Spence Jr., in 2019. She is survived by her stepmother, Grace Spence of San Francisco, her brother, Richard Spence (Leanne) of Wilsonville, Oregon, her sister-in-law, Carol L. Spence, of Montecito, California; and nieces and nephews.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Ann Parish at a future date when friends and relatives can safely gather again. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Ann School Foundation, St. John Neumann Catholic High School Scholarship Fund, or Ave Maria School of Law.