John E. Magnuson

Dec 1, 1946 - Mar 28, 2013


Former Sheriff John E. Magnuson, 66, of Sandusky, passed away late Thursday morning, March 28, 2013, in Stein Hospice Care Center, Sandusky.

He was born Dec. 1, 1946, in Elyria, a son of the late Edmund and Marian (Schaffer) Magnuson. John Magnuson graduated in 1964 from Norwalk St. Paul High School. He served two years in the U.S. Army, including one year in Viet Nam.   

John Magnuson began his law enforcement career in 1970 at the Perkins Township Police Department. 
On Jan. 1, 1972, he became a member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, serving under Sheriff Albert Hess. As a member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Magnuson served in a variety of capacities, including jail warden, and as executive officer from 1976 through his successful election as Erie County Sheriff in November 1980. Magnuson was the first county-elected official in 20 years from the Vermilion area. The bi-partisan support gave Sheriff Magnuson a base that allowed him to continue to be elected for five consecutive terms as Erie County Sheriff. With his election in November 1979 and retirement in January 2001, Sheriff Magnuson became and remains the longest continuously elected sheriff in Erie County’s history. 

Throughout his law enforcement career, Magnuson obtained an associates degree in police science from Lorain Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from Youngstown State University. 
Magnuson was proud of his involvement in the construction of the first jail built in Erie County since 1886. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the new jail at 2800 Columbus Ave., built in 1990.  

Former Sheriff Magnuson was also proud of the many individuals whom he recruited for various positions at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, some who continue to pursue law enforcement careers in high-ranking leadership positions. 

Magnuson was a lifetime member of the American Legion, VFW, Paralyzed American Veterans, Buckeye State Sheriff's Association and Paul Catholic Church in Sandusky.

He is survived by his brother, Eric J. (Joan) Magnuson, of Fremont, and several nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, William P. "Bill" "Broadway" Magnuson in 1975; and sister, Ann E. Langhals, in 2006.

Visitation will be 2-8 p.m. Monday, April 1, at David F. Koch Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 520 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Norwalk St. Paul Catholic Church, 91 E. Main St., Norwalk. Monsignor Ken Morman will officiate. Interment will be in Norwalk St. Paul Catholic Cemetery. Military honors will be provided by the American Legion Post 83 Color Guard.

The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to Stein Hospice Service Inc., 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870.

Your memories and words of comfort may be expressed to John's family at



Go in peace brother,you have earned your wings.If there is a line you can go to the front !A man among men !