Priscilla M. Magnuson


Priscilla M. Magnuson, 84, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on December 19, 2012. Priscilla had been battling serious health challenges far the last few years.

She was born in Oak Bluffs on June 20, 1928, to Hortense Ferreira Silva and George Tarvis Silva.

A lifelong Vineyard resident, Priscilla graduated from the Edgartown High School and not only graduated 2nd in her class, but was a stellar athlete and a very gifted musician, playing not only five instruments but she also had a voice like a songbird with a singing range of nearly four octaves. In her early years some not only compared her voice to Judy Garland’s, but her looks as well. Priscilla was accepted to Julliard on a full scholarship but sadly chose not to leave her beloved island.

She married George Magnuson Jr. after he had returned home after serving his country in April of 1949 and their marriage spanned nearly 64 years. They spent their early married life in West Tisbury, living in the “The Coop” on Whiting’s Farm until George built them a home in West Tisbury.

After moving to Edgartown, Priscilla continued her singing as the soprano soloist in the Federated Church. Music and the church would always remain very important to her.

As her children grew, Priscilla became very active in her community. She was a member of the Women’s Club and the Edgartown Board of Appeals. She was instrumental in raising the money that enable the town of Edgartown to purchase its very first ambulance. She was a very active member of the Federated Church, not only being a member of the choir in her younger years, but President of the Unity Club for several years, and she became one of the first women to become Deacon of the church.

Priscilla had an antique shop called The Cellar which was in the basement of their house. She always had a great appreciation for great pieces of furniture and always enjoyed the hunt for them.

Priscilla always enjoyed many hobbies over the years be it art, jewelry making, reading, knitting, but her many interests was a reflection of the fact that she never lost her desire to learn something new. But her real joy was cooking and her grandchildren would line up when they could smell her famous mac & cheese cooking in the oven.

Priscilla was predeceaced by her first grandchild, Gregory John Phillips, in 1976. She leaves behind her husband of nearly 64 years George Magnuson Jr.; her two children, Barbara Magnuson Phillips and John Magnuson both of Edgartown; her five grandchildren, Leah Phillips D’Amato of North Reading, Andrew Phillips of Carlisle, Rachel Magnuson of Onset, Geoffrey Phillips of Eastham, Kenneth Magnuson of Edgartown; her three great-grandchildren, Malik Magnuson and twins Madeline and Mallory D’Amato; and her niece, Nancy Burleson, and nephew, Keith Lowe, of Ohio, and several great nieces and nephews.

Priscilla’s service was held December 22. Because of her long relationship with her church, donations in her memory can be made to The Federated Church, PO Box 249, Edgartown, MA 02539.