Virgil Magee Jr., 64, Camden dropout-prevention coordinator

Virgil Magee Jr., 64, of Marlton, a dropout-prevention coordinator at Camden High School who also mentored troubled youth through a church ministry, died of brain cancer Thursday, Nov. 25, at Virtua Marlton.

Mr. Magee went to college to be a teacher and worked as one for some time, but as he took on more responsibilities at Camden High School, he became more like a social worker.

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VirgilMagee Jr.

As a dropout-prevention coordinator, Mr. Magee would go into Camden's toughest neighborhoods to look for students who weren't attending school.

"He loved it dearly - getting the kids to come to school," said his wife, Bethrotha. "He would go to their homes, and he worked with the families."

After 37 years of working with Camden's youth, Mr. Magee retired last December. He was hoping to volunteer with troubled youth, but he was diagnosed with brain cancer shortly after he retired, his wife said.

Mr. Magee was born and raised in Collins, Miss. After his 1965 high school graduation, he went to Coahoma Community College in Mississippi, where he played basketball. He then enrolled at Alcorn State University and majored in vocational education.

After graduating from Alcorn in 1970, Mr. Magee worked for a few months at a school in his hometown before moving to Philadelphia in 1971.

Within his first few months in Philadelphia, he met his future wife. The couple married later that year.

Mr. Magee started out as an industrial-arts teacher at East Camden Middle School. He later moved to Hatch Middle School, also teaching mechanics and electrical shop.

A few years later, he landed at Camden High School as a work-program coordinator. In that position, his wife said, Mr. Magee connected students to workplaces during the academic year and found them summer jobs.

During that time, Mr. Magee also started working with his church's prison ministry. Mr. Magee would go with a couple of Moorestown's Bethel A.M.E. members to area jails and prisons and speak to young male prisoners. Inmates often recognized Mr. Magee because of his work at Camden High.

Mr. Magee mentored many of the incarcerated youth to become certified in technical positions, useful after their release.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Magee is survived by sons Virgil and Quincy; his mother, Rosia Lee Magee; a brother; and a sister.

A viewing will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 512 N. Church St., Moorestown. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Interment will be in Collins, Miss.

 


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.