Raymond J. Magnani - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Raymond J. Magnani

May 11, 1949 - January 5, 2024

Raymond J. Magnani, devoted husband and amazing father, passed away on Friday, January 5, 2024, at his home in Newark, Delaware at the age of 74.

Born in New York, NY on May 11, 1949, Raymond “Ray” was a son of the late Eugene Magnani and Edythe Magnani of Landenberg, PA. He met his wife, Marilynn Magnani, in 1971, when they were both part of a group of teachers starting a new school called Newark Center for Creative Learning. They were married on March 1, 1985, when they decided they wanted to adopt a child and complete their family.

Ray had a mind that was always alive with curiosity and problem-solving, and combined a kind and compassionate nature with a wonderful love of life. He was a talented photographer, a long-time member and contributing artist of the Newark Arts Alliance, had photos featured in shows and magazines and he photo-illustrated a book with his sister, Denise, about the Winterthur Garden. For years Ray maintained a full darkroom in his basement before transitioning to digital photography. At the tender age of 68, he was awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship, a grant for an “emerging professional” artist for his “Oxidation” photo series.

As a young man, Ray loved to fly airplanes, and even built and owned one with a group of friends. Like the classic Italian, he was a lover of food – both cooking and eating it – and was especially known for his bread. His green thumb ensured a vegetable garden was always maintained and he enjoyed growing basil to make his own pesto, tending his bountiful fig trees, and starting lettuces in his basement and planting them in a backyard, home-made cold frame. Ray loved the outdoors – hiking, backpacking, canoeing, fishing, skiing, camping. He especially loved kayaking with family and friends. Ray was fascinated by science and astronomy, math, and history, and was an avid reader and patron of the library and thrift stores. He learned to play guitar as an adult and then taught what he had learned to students, whom he liked to say quickly surpassed him in talent. Ray collected hobbies, was good working with his hands, and was always the go-to person if there was some sort of problem. But first and foremost, he was a teacher. Ray helped lead and develop NCCL into the school that it is today and was a full-time teacher there for 44 years. Even after his retirement from teaching in 2015, he was still a constant guiding presence and mentor. Ray frequently went in to teach supplementary classes and to create fun and memorable demonstrations of scientific, mathematical, and historical concepts. Ray touched the lives of hundreds of families, students, and teachers, and was deeply moved by the many letters and e-mails he received in his final year.

In addition to his parents, Ray was preceded in death by his brother, Barry Magnani; and sadly, was followed closely in death by his sister, Denise Magnani. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Marilynn Carver Magnani; daughter, Emily Magnani; brother, Eugene Magnani; brother-in-law, Jonathan Kissell; stepson, John Carver and daughter-in-law, Jody; three grandchildren; two nephews; and a niece.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 1 pm until 2 pm on Saturday, January 27, 2024, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 West Park Place, Newark, DE, where a memorial service will begin at 2 pm. Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting one of the causes that Ray championed so often in life, and make a donation to the Newark Center for Creative Learning, NCCL School c/o Annual Fund, 401 Phillips Avenue, Newark, DE 19711 or online by clicking here; or to the Newark Arts Alliance, 207 Louviers Drive, Newark, DE 19711 or online by clicking here; or to Water for Life Kenya, 314 East Main Street, Kelway Plaza, Suite 2, Newark, DE 19711 or online by clicking here.


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30 Condolences for Raymond J. Magnani

  • I feel honored to have known Ray. I never heard a negative word said about him as he was loved by all. Godspeed.

  • Ray the interminable giver, what a gift you gave us all just to know you! I see your mark in every turn of the corner, in every nail of the fence, in the very walls I sit in most days to continue the mission you worked so tirelessly towards for so many years. We will miss you forever.

  • I have fond memories of Ray, having been the next door neighbor long ago
    Gone too soon! So sad 🙏

  • I am a close friend of Emily and her fiancé Chris. Chris had been keeping my updated throughout Raymond’s last days. My heart and love goes out to Emily and the entire family for their loss

  • Ray, you were a fabulous, creative teacher who made us love to learn, and a fun, kind friend to my whole family. You leave a big legacy of all the people you taught and lives you touched. You will be remembered and missed.

  • So sorry for your loss.

  • Enjoyed sharing all of our NHS class reunions. Lots of memories… R.I.P.

  • Marilynn and Emily, thinking of you during this difficult time. Sending heartfelt condolences on the loss of a great man. Ray touched the lives of so many with his friendly smile, kindness, generority, dedication, and his love of knowledge.

    He was a wonderful mentor and friend to my kiddos at NCCL. Ray’s love of aviation inspired my daughter, Ava, to continue down this path and thinks of him with every model airplane building kit he’s shared with her. My son, Max, enjoyed participating in Ray’s fun and interactive science experiments at school. Also, Ray’s art show photos hang in every part of our house and we see his sparkling eyes in all of them.

    Anyone who was fortunate enough to have crossed his path will miss him dearly; his legacy will live on in all of our hearts.

    Love, Kelly, Ava, and Max Oreper

  • I will.always hold the fondest memories of my te at NCCL back in its first years. Ray played a big role as my 3rd grade teacher I recall the passion
    Amd.enthusiasm he brought to his lessons. 50 + years later I recognize that having a teacher that listened, that took our opinions and ideas seriously allowed free expression built confidence and curiosity. We still tell the tales of the Great egg drop experiment of 1971 from the 3rd floor of the old fraternity house that was the first home of NCCL. Ray will always hold a special spot in my heart and brilliant childhood memories. My love, big hugs and condolences to Marilynn. xxxoo

  • Probably the best teacher I ever had ( 82,83,84) at NCCL from the class room to building an actual airplane to photography, he made school Fun !
    R. I. P. Mr. Ray.. 🙏

  • Ray was an incredible teacher, so full of joy and excitement. He had the biggest heart. I feel so blessed to have had him as my teacher at NCCL. The word “teacher” does not encompass all that Ray was to kids, but it’s a good start.

    Marilynn and Emily, I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending you so much love.

  • Ray was truly a one-of-a-kind individual. Always curious, caring and inspiring, he had a huge impact on Cole. I’m sure the same can be said about the thousands of other students who had the good fortune to know him. His loss is a loss for all who’s lives he touched and transformed.

  • Knew Ray from catholic grade school & high school. Me, Jimmy Stewart & Ray were the 3 musketeers, went thru teenage years together, great memories & truly only the good die young. I saw him in October & he had a good attitude about what he was dealt! Miss you buddy

  • he will be sorely missed

  • A tragic loss. Truly a “classic” in every sense of the word. Heartfelt condolences from the Geckle family.

  • Ray is a “relative-in-law”, but I would have liked him had I met him anywhere. With his warm smile, kind words, and gentle ways, he was always a pleasure to talk to at our all-too-infrequent family get-togethers. With his camera, he captured those moments that we would have otherwise not even noticed. And I know he left our world a better place with all the students he taught and guided through the years at NCCL. Ray, we love you and will miss you.

  • Ray was a kind and caring friend. He will be missed. Strength to Marilynn and Emily.

  • A close friend for 52 years, Ray has been such an indispensable part of NCCL and our growth. Without him I’m not sure we would be the strong growing community that still honors our roots like we are today. We all will miss him terribly but his spirit and influence will live on in others long into the future.

  • He was a great teacher and motivator, and helped us move outside of comfort zones, and made learning fun.
    NCCL shaped me to the point I reference it regularly some 36 years later.
    The world lost one of its Great ones. My condolences.

  • Ray was an amazing teacher, and was the kindest soul. I always enjoyed being in his class, and having tons of fun in his classes durring workshop week.

  • Never had the privilege of being Ray’s student, but knowing him as an NCCL parent was a privilege in itself. What a sad loss to us all. Heartfelt wishes to Marilynn and Emily and peace to all whom Ray touched.

  • Remember you and Denise when we were all children- My Grandfather Mario Fornari; my Grandmother Lillian Magnani ! Rest in peace Raymond and Denise- so sad!!!

  • Ray was an amazing human being and teacher. He had a gift of instilling confidence in my children even when they were struggling with subjects like math and spelling. This definitely made my children more resilient and very capable of navigating the world beyond NCCL. Ray was also a most creative science teacher who reinforced my children’s interest in the discipline leading them to pursue graduate education and careers in medicine and environmental science. There is no doubt that Ray helped mold both of my children into the responsible, successful and caring adults they are today. My heart goes out to Marilynn and Emily for their loss of their much loved and irreplaceable husband and father.

  • Ray Magnani was a fabulous human being and a great role model. I knew him only from a distance but will always remember his peaceful demeanor and gentle glad smile. He will be missed.

    Marilyn, you two were a beautiful and very loving couple. We are all sorry for the loss but know his energy will continue to radiate thru the ongoing glowing example of both you, Marilynn, and your daughter, Emily.

    Peace, Blessings, and Heartfelt Condolences
    Vera E Kaminski

  • It is a wonderful thing for a man to touch the lives of so many children and in a way that provided such depth. The founding of the NCCL school touched so many young people and Ray touched my own child while they attended NCCL. I recall, specifically, a fun time when my child was on workshop week and Ray was teaching cooking. The group of kids were instructed to follow the back of the brownie box to make brownies. Ray got a big kick out of how they forgot to preheat the oven and how they mixed the brownies in the pan (instead of using a bowl) and that made greasing the pan pretty tricky. 🙂 He had such a mischievous expression when he smiled and we feel blessed to have known him. Marilynn, please know that you are also so special, having touched so many people in similar ways, and our hearts are with you in this time of pain.

  • My sincere condolences to Ray’s family. I was honored to know Ray casually ,and memorably, as a member of the Newark Arts Alliance. I can’t add anything to the admirable traits that have been voiced here and in private. It was always a pleasure to see and talk art and the world with him. Rest In Peace, Ray.

  • I only met him a few times, but he seemed to be a kind, knowledgeable, well-respected, well-loved husband and dad. My deepest condolences to the family, and I know no words are able to replace the loss of someone so close and well-loved. I wish there was something more than prayers I could do for you because the loss is so difficult. May he rest in peace as he will be missed immeasurably.

  • Emily and family, we are so deeply sorry for your great loss. We are wishing peace in your hearts and beautiful memories that last lifetimes. Love never leaves us. We are thinking of you. – Dan and Ali

  • I first saw Ray, with his curly red pony tail, laughing with friends in Smith Hall before the first segment of Kenneth Clark’s Civilization. And I was struck by all his positive energy. The second time I saw him was in my living room when he and Michael Edwards came to, I think, the first “meeting” of people interested in becoming involved with starting a school. And, even when I haven’t seen him for years, he’s been one of those core people we have in our lives. He brought so much to NCCL, and to me–his great sense of humor, his magpie interest in everything around him, his enthusiasm, his directness and frankness, his genuine love of life. Ray left too soon but his light will continue to shine through the hundreds of students whose lives he touched.

  • Ray, I will miss your calm ways and words of wisdom. How honored I feel to have taught beside you, camped with you,( and oh, so many kids over the years); kayaked, hiked and shared meals with you and Marilyn. My dear friend, go in peace.
    Steve and I carry you with us in our hearts.