Dr. Thomas Magstadt, bestselling author, professor, and beloved member of the community, passed away at his home in Westwood Hills, Kansas on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. He was 76 years old.
Dr. Magstadt was born in Parkston, South Dakota on July 23, 1944, and grew up in the nearby town of Tripp. He earned his doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and led a distinguished career that spanned half a century and multiple continents. It included chairing the political science departments at Augustana College and the University of Nebraska, teaching at the Air War College, the University of Missouri-Kansas, the University of Kansas and the University of Western Bohemia in the Czech Republic (where he was a Fulbright Scholar), and serving as a foreign intelligence analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.
A prolific writer, he published several textbooks, including Nations and Governments: Comparative Politics in Regional Perspective, An Empire If You Can Keep It, Contemporary European Politics and his bestselling Understanding Politics: Ideas, Institutions and Issues, in addition to countless journal articles, policy papers and op-eds in both print and digital media. He enjoyed art, music and travel. He looked forward to Tuesday morning rendezvous with his friends, the “Coffee Boys,” and could often be seen walking through Westwood Hills with the love of his life, Rebecca Mickelberg, and their dog, Rocky.
Dr. Magstadt is survived by Rebecca Mickelberg, his sister, Barbara, and his sons and their families, David, Amy and Alexa Magstadt and Michael and Erin Magstadt.
In accordance with his wishes, he will be laid to rest near his childhood home in Tripp, South Dakota, with a private celebration of life to follow at a later date.