HENRY MAGIN was born in New Jersey around 1897. When America entered World War I, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on June 12, 1917, and qualified with the rifle as a sharpshooter. He served with the Marines in France, where he was wounded, apparently by German artillery. Private Magin was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on July 14, 1919. He was bothered by pieces of shrapnel that could not be removed for the remainder of his life.
Upon returning to America, he married his pre-war sweetheart, Helen Elias of Philadelphia, in 1919. The couple was living in Philadelphia in January of 1920, when the census was taken. They lived with her parents in Philadelphia. Henry Magin was then working in a glass factory. A daughter, named Helen for her mother, was born not long after the census enumeration. Henry Magin was not content to make the glass factory his life’s work, so he attended to furthering his education. In 1925 he graduated from Drexel University with a degree in civil engineering. He moved his family to Camden during the 1920s, and received his New Jersey license to practice municipal engineering early in 1930.
At the time of the 1930 Census, Henry Magin, had found work as a municipal engineer, most likely in Camden, where he resided. He was living with his wife Helen and their daughter, then age 9, at 3054 Alabama Road in the Fairview section of the city.
Henry Magin was very active in veterans and fraternal organizations, and became well known in Camden during the 1930s. The Democrat party in Camden called on him to run for the post of City Commissioner in 1939, and he was elected to that position in the May election. He replaced Frank J. Hartmann Jr.. as the Director of Public Works.
Henry Magin died quiet unexpectedly of a sudden heart attack on Friday, August 22, 1941, while inspecting conditions at the city incinerator on Federal Street. He had finished conferring with another public employee when he was stricken. James Carr, of the Highway Department, caught him as he fell.
Henry Magin was very popular figure in Camden, the Camden Times, a weekly newspaper of that era reported that “… services were conducted in the city commission chambers of the City Hall” and that “Fully 8,000 persons viewed the remains…as the body lay in state in the City Hall.”
The 1947 Camden City Directory shows his wife Helen as still residing at the Alabama Road address.
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