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Obituary: Clair “Pete” D. Magoffin, 87

The U.S. Navy veteran fought in two wars, witnessed the WWII Japanese surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay.

Clair “Pete” D. Magoffin, 87, of Leesburg, VA, passed away peacefully Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013, surrounded by his loving family at Inova Loudoun Hospital.

Pete was born Dec. 16, 1925, in Elba, NY, to the late William T. Magoffin and Claire E. Dennison. In addition to his parents, his nine siblings preceded him in death.

Pete lived most of his life in Rochester, NY. In October 1942, he entered the Navy at age 16. Trained as a gunner’s mate, he volunteered for Naval Armed Guard Service. For the next two years he performed hazardous duty, protecting merchant vessels participating in convoys to destinations that included North Africa, Italy and Normandy (D-Day). In 1944, he volunteered for destroyer duty and shipped out to the Pacific aboard the USS Frank Knox (DD-742). Besides taking part in the shelling of mainland Japan, Pete witnessed the surrender ceremony firsthand in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

Discharged in 1946, Pete returned to Rochester and began a long and rewarding career as a machinist. In 1947, he was hired by Ritter Company and with the exception of a two-year stint back in the Navy during the Korean War he remained with Ritter until his retirement in 1984. An added benefit of his navy service during this period was meeting his wife-to-be – Maggie Hanlon – in London. They were married in 1952, and moved to the Town of Greece in 1959.

Upon his retirement, Pete and Maggie spent time in North Carolina and Michigan, settling down for good in the mid-1990s in Northern Virginia. To pass time, Pete enjoyed fishing and working as a “people greeter” at a local Wal-Mart. By 2009, Pete required a little more assistance, so he moved into his son’s Leesburg home and quickly became the neighborhood patriarch.

Mr. Magoffin is survived by his wife Maggie; sons Thomas Magoffin (Mary), of Sewell, NJ, and Col. Doug Magoffin USMCR, (Ret.) (Terri) of Leesburg; grandchildren Thomas Magoffin (Kelly), Cari Landman (Bobby), Sarah Magoffin, Patrick Magoffin and Kelly Magoffin. 

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at Loudoun Funeral Chapel. Graveside services and Inurnment will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Pete’s name to the Honor Flight Network, 300 E. Auburn Avenue Springfield, OH 45505-4703 (www.honorflight.org).

Share condolences with the family at www.LoudounFuneralChapel.com.

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