A very well-respected local pediatrician and former physician at Lake Region Healthcare has died.
Dr. Allen Magnuson, 71, of Fergus Falls, passed away at his home of a suspected cardiac event on Sept. 25.
Multiple generations of families visited his office regularly, as well as their children, and grandchildren. Magnuson started with Lake Region Healthcare in September 1978 and retired in July 2018. Along the way, he also served on the Lake Region Medical Group Board of Directors sporadically from 1990 through his retirement.
Many say the impact and legacy he left in the community is immeasurable, and not just at Lake Region Healthcare. The children and families he cared for were important to him and he enjoyed following their accomplishments as they grew up.
Kent Mattson, CEO at Lake Region Healthcare, said, “As the current leader of the health care organization that he helped build, as a member of the community he served, and a parent of four kids he took care of, I can sincerely say that Dr. Magnuson leaves a legacy of care that is worthy of recognition and celebration. By the way he carried out his work, it was evident that Dr. Magnuson had a calling to pediatrics. It was so much more than a job. He cared so deeply about children and families and spent countless hours outside of his regular practice making sure he did everything he could when they were in need.”
Mattson added, “We hear story after story of the lives he impacted through his generous service; those he saved, the rare diagnosis he made, the mothers he comforted, the fathers he encouraged, and the kids who looked up to him from birth through when many of them became parents of patients themselves.
"One nurse shared the story this week that one of her favorite memories of him was that some of the children would pronounce his name incorrectly and call him Dr. Magnificent. He didn’t exactly mind it, and truth be told, it was pretty accurate. He made a profound and positive impact on his colleagues here too. He was a steady, calm presence as a member of the medical group for 40 years, and was involved deeply in helping our organization and medical staff grow and continually strive for exceptional care. Together with Dr. Eisinger, they defined pediatric health care in this organization and this region for decades. He set a great example for us all and I think the best way for us to honor his legacy is by carrying on his person-centered approach caring for people of all ages, and devoting ourselves to the service and care of others.”
Dr. Matthew Mouser, an internal medicine specialist with Lake Region Healthcare said “He was always trying to do something good for someone else but did not want others to know it was him who did it. That was his personality, just working hard and doing his best. He was really caring about kids. All my kids saw him, I also had the privilege of him being my partner as well."
Dr. Larry Eisinger reflected, “He was the best partner anyone could ever have. We spent 36 years together. During that time there was never a disagreement, or raised voices.”
Eisinger said that even before working with Magnuson, his reputation preceded him, “All I heard during my rotations was how well he was respected at the University (of Minnesota). He was one of a kind. He was also a huge sports booster, and he spent many years attending various sporting events locally and around the country, that was Allen, he was just this guy that loved kids, I think he spent more time on a bleacher on a phone than someone in a car would spend on their phone, he just couldn’t get enough with the kids and their sports.”
Another colleague, Dr. Wesley Borowski said, “He was a man I considered to be a friend as well as a colleague. I worked with him closely from the time I started at Lake Region until he retired. He was always willing to help me with pediatric advice and he assisted me without complaint doing C-sections at any hour of the day or night. I even participated in covering pediatric calls with him and Dr. Eisinger for a while. He was honest, kind and knowledgeable. He brought a sense of calm with him even in stressful situations. I always felt better when he was in my corner! I viewed him as a mentor and someone to emulate. He always expressed interest in my family’s activities as well as mine. I will miss him greatly.” said Borowski.
In a profile that was featured in an internal publication in December of 1993 called “Upbeat,” Magnuson was quoted as saying, "Kids are truly guests in our homes, time goes by so very quickly. No job passes more quickly. We need to teach children proper values. Children grow up in their parents' image. They will parent in the same way they were parented. Spend time with your children,” Magnuson was quoted as saying.
Magnuson also said at the time that pediatrics practiced preventive medicine before it became a catchword.
“We spend a great amount of time on preventive medicine,” he said. “A good deal of our work is the well-child visit. I wanted to be an advocate and caregiver for children. The children are the best part of this job.”
Originally from the Fargo area, Magnuson graduated from Wheaton High School in 1967.
Memorials are preferred to Young Life Otter Tail County or to Lake Region Cancer Care & Research Center.