Honoring the Legacy of Rob Magee

Q39 will be closed on Monday, January 24 to honor the life of Rob Magee.

On Dec 2nd, 2021, Robert Alfred Magee passed away at the age of 57 after managing colon cancer for five and a half years. He was a loving husband and father, professional chef and restaurateur, friend, and mentor, who loved adventure. Even after his cancer diagnosis, Rob continued to live life to its fullest and packed an amazing amount of fun into his 57 years.

Born on Staten Island, NY, he was raised in a family of six. After a few years in northern California, the family relocated to Montvale, NJ, where Rob graduated high school. His love for adventure started early on, enjoying both snow and water skiing.

Rob began working in the hospitality industry as a cook for Bennigans restaurant in the early 1980’s. He went on to earn a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, in 1986. The hospitality industry was a perfect fit for Rob’s high energy, sharp eye, and creative talents. Family and friends recall enjoying Rob’s five-course meals and elaborate brunches while he was in his twenties. Ultimately, his culinary career spanned more than three decades in leadership positions throughout the country in Omni, Four Seasons, Westin, and Hilton Hotels. Wherever he lived he always embraced the food and culture. He brought his expertise to Kansas City in 2000 where he began exploring Kansas City’s signature cuisine, barbeque.

In 2002, Rob began competing in barbeque events and led his Munchin’ Hogs team to national prominence as well as local honors with the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The team ranked in the top ten teams in the world for eight years, including #1 Team of the Year in 2008 and 2011, and #2 in 2012. Rob competed in prestigious contests, winning hundreds of awards and championships throughout the United States and participating in as many as 42 contests per year. The team successfully competed in premier contests like the Great American Barbeque Invitational, the American Royal Barbeque Contest, and the Jack Daniels World Champion Invitational.

In 2003, Rob married Kelly Ridgway Griswold and they raised four children together in Prairie Village, Kansas: Kaitlyn Magee, Sydney Griswold, Jack Griswold, and Collin Magee. Rob greatly enjoyed sharing his passion for adventure with his family.

Rob fulfilled a life-long dream of opening his own restaurant in 2014. Building upon his success in competition barbeque, Rob and his wife Kelly opened Q39 restaurant in midtown Kansas City, featuring Kansas City’s first open barbeque kitchen with a chef-driven menu. There he created classics like the Mr. Burns sandwich, the “Judges Plate”, a nod to his competition days, and of course, their signature wings, which start on the smoker and are finished on the grill. Q39 made headlines when Chiefs head coach Andy Reid came straight from the airport to Q39 following their Super Bowl win in Miami to order his signature favorites: burnt ends, onion straws, and mac and cheese.

Rob was thrilled with the way locals and tourists alike embraced Q39 as part of the city’s rich barbeque tradition. A second location opened in Overland Park in 2017. Q39 continues to be one of Kansas City’s top barbecue restaurants because of Rob’s culinary and competition level skills.

Colleagues and friends remember Rob sharing his culinary passion and expertise. Rob would mentor and share knowledge with everyone around him, whether grilling in his backyard, butchering meat at a barbeque contest or providing tours and how-to videos at Q39.

In his free time, Rob continued to embrace a variety of adventurous hobbies: motor cross and off-road racing, snow skiing, boating & water-skiing, deep-sea fishing, and scuba diving. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious; he gathered friends wherever his interests and hobbies took him.

Rob is preceded in death by his father, William Magee, Sr, his mother, Mary Ann (Mayerhoff) Magee, brother William Magee, Jr, and brother-in-law Jeffrey Georges. He is survived by his wife Kelly, stepson Kyle Evans, daughter Kaitlyn Magee, stepdaughter Sydney Griswold, stepson Jack Griswold, son Collin Magee, and grandson Ryder Evans. Additionally, by siblings Kathleen Magee Georges Dieker, John Magee, James Magee, and Joseph Magee along with their spouses and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Memorial service will be held on Monday January 24, 2022, at Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Ave, Leawood, Kansas at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the KU Cancer Center, via KU Endowment, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Mail Stop 3012, Kansas City, KS 66160, to benefit colon cancer research. Online contributions may be made at http://www.kuendowment.org/Magee. Please indicate that donations are for the Rob Magee memorial.

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