Frances Ella Magnus, beloved mother and grandmother, died peacefully at 3:15 a.m. on Aug. 17, at the Vincent Bove Health Center in Jefferson’s Ferry, South Setauket. She was 93 years old.
The daughter of Frank and Frances Van Etten, Frances Ella was born on Sept. 29, 1929, in the Bronx.
She pursued her passion for classical ballet at the School of American Ballet, training with Anatole Oboukhoff, Yurek Lazowski, Muriel Stuart and Pierre Vladimiroff. In 1951, under the artistic direction of George Balanchine, Frances made her professional debut along with members of the New York City Ballet company at Carnegie Hall.
Her dance career abruptly ended when she was injured by a taxicab in midtown Manhattan. No longer able to meet the physical demands of classical ballet, she went on to have a career in the fashion industry, modeling for advertisements that appeared in The New York Times and other publications.
In 1953, Frances met her future husband, 1st Lt. Daniel Magnus, at the Warwick Hotel in Manhattan during a social event organized for Army officers on leave during the Korean War. They kept in touch after Daniel returned to Germany, where he was stationed. On Dec. 11, 1954, Frances and Daniel were married in West Derby, a suburb of Liverpool, England.
During the first year of their marriage, they lived in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, which afforded them the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. When Daniel was discharged from the military, they returned to the United States, briefly living in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and eventually settling in Huntington.
After raising three children and the untimely death in 1987 of her husband Daniel, Frances went on to study interior design at Parsons School of Design/The New School in Manhattan. In 1990, she completed her studies and received a degree of associate in applied science with honors.
Frances is survived by her daughter Susan and son-in-law Scott Newkirk, of Beacon; her son Steven and daughter-in-law Jennifer, of Northport; her son Daniel and daughter-in-law Jamie, of Greenlawn. She was the loving grandmother of William, James, Emma and Allison.
A wake was held Friday, Aug. 25, at Nolan Funeral Home, Northport. Funeral services were held on Saturday, Aug. 26, at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor, followed by burial at Huntington Rural Cemetery in Huntington.
Charitable contributions may be made to Jefferson’s Ferry Foundation in memory of Frances Magnus and in honor of the clinical staff in Memory Care. For more information, email [email protected] or call 631-675-5507.