Douglas Magnon, automobile museum co-founder, dies at 55

Willie Grace | 2/6/2015, 9:33 a.m. | Updated on 2/6/2015, 9:33 a.m.
Magnon, president of the Magnon Companies, a regional commercial real estate developer, was also the founder and principal of the ...
Douglas Magnon was a fixture in the Riverside, Calif., car and motorsports scene.

CAR ENTHUSIAST AND PHILANTHROPIST HELPED ESTABLISH RIVERSIDE INTERNATIONAL AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

Car enthusiast and Riverside (Calif.) International Automotive Museum co-founder Douglas Magnon died on Feb. 4 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 55.

Magnon, president of the Magnon Companies, a regional commercial real estate developer, was also the founder and principal of the Riverside International Automotive Museum (RIAM) owner of Magnone Trattoria, partner in the Newport Italian motorcycle dealership and a trustee board member of the University of California Riverside.

Magnon was a man of many passions. He loved food, cooking and Italian culture, which twice led to ventures into the restaurant business. His namesake restaurant, Magnone Trattoria, continues to serve Magnon's own recipes on Spruce Street in Riverside. He was frequently found in the kitchen preparing his beloved dishes and sharing his favorite wines and cheeses.

It was his passion for motor racing, and growing up attending races at the legendary Riverside International Raceway, that led to the founding of the Riverside International Automotive Museum with his father Raymond. Many Southern California racing fans lamented the demise of the famed circuit in 1988. The museum was established from that memory and received immediate support from the greater racing community.

Events such as "Legends of Riverside" gave fans the opportunity to enjoy an evening with racing greats including Dan Gurney, Bobby Unser, Carroll Shelby and Bob Bondurant and relive moments that made Southern California one of the hubs of racing culture.

Magnon is survived by his wife, Evonne Magnon (Barsakis), his father Raymond Magnon (Kelly), his mother Elaine Taber (Clare), his sisters Deanna Magnon Wagner (Dennis), Cheryl Cliff (Paul) and Patti Oldham (Tom), brother Ryan Magnon (Rona).

A celebration of Magnon’s life is planned at the Riverside International Automotive Museum Feb. 15, 1 p.m. The Magnon family requests charitable donations to the Riverside International Automotive Museum and the American Cancer Society in lieu of flowers.

For more information go to http://www.autoweek.com