By Joyce Erekson
Sitting in the bleachers at Manning Field, Bowzer Complex and the Classical High gym for hours on end probably isn’t the best recipe for a healthy back, but you won’t hear Tim and Anne Magner complain. These days there’s no place they would rather be.
The Magners have been watching their own children as well as a seemingly endless stream of nieces and nephews play just about any sport that involves a ball for a good 30 years. That includes West Lynn American Little League, Babe Ruth baseball and softball, West Lynn Pop Warner, Callahan elementary school, Breed Middle School, Classical High and Sacred Heart CYO games. That tradition is winding down, however, as Shannon, the youngest of the Lynn Magner clan, wraps up her senior year at Classical, where she’s a three-sport athlete.
Tim Magner and his four older brothers, Johnny, Jimmy, Leo and Richie, grew up on Cottage Street and with the exception of Johnny, who went to St. Mary’s, they all attended Classical High (the intersection at Cottage Street and Bachelder St. is named Staff Sgt. Leo D. Magner Square in honor of brother Leo, who was killed in a tank accident in Germany in 1978).
The brothers grew up playing a variety of sports, taking their cue from their father, John, who played Classical High football and coached the older ones at West Lynn American Little League. When the brothers started having children of their own, the athletic tradition continued as Magner after Magner left his or her mark, some becoming excellent high school athletes while others called it a day after their youth sport days were over.
“The younger ones would go to the older ones’ games and they would get inspired to play. They would get motivated,” Tim Magner said.
Tim and Anne Magner are are both Lynn police officers (Tim is a patrol sector sergeant and Anne is a school safety officer/juvenile detective). Given the age spread of their three children, the Magners, who met at Classical, have been a fixture on the sidelines for many years. Their oldest son, Tim (2003), was captain of the Classical football and baseball teams. He’s now a Lynn firefighter. Daughter Jill, a Thurgood Marshall Middle School teacher, played soccer and softball (2007) and Shannon (2015) plays soccer, basketball and soccer.
Jimmy Magner also had three children, Jim, Maureen and Charlene. Jim played football and baseball (1996) and Maureen Magner Rystrom, who is in the Classical High Hall of Fame, played soccer, basketball and softball. Charlene also played some softball. Rich Magner had three children, Christine (1996), Melissa (2002) and Karen (2006) who played softball.
“Next year we don’t know what we’re going to do with ourselves,” Rich Magner said. “We’ve been coming to these games for 20 years (longer when you count all the cousins’ games they went to).”
Anne (O’Toole) Magner said she’s always
advocated sports for her own kids, but as a school safety officer, she said she stresses to the students how important it is for kids to get involved in something, even if it’s not a sport.
“Do music, sign up for the play. Keep busy,” she said.
The Magners (and Tim’s 87-year-old mother) still live in West Lynn and although the numbers are dwindling a bit as the next generation scatters a bit, the clan still makes it a point to hold a family softball game at it summer cookouts.
“It’s all about tradition,” Tim Magner said.