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Magnolia Hi-Fi’s James Tweten Dead At 69

Former Magnolia A/V CEO remembered for his passion of A/V industry, love of life.

James Tweten

Former CEO and president of Magnolia Audio Video, James Tweten passed away unexpectedly on November 3, 2020. Often known affectionately as “Jimmy Joe”, Jim joined his father Leonard in the family business at Magnolia Hi-Fi & Video in Seattle, Wa. in 1972, and soon began working in the second Magnolia store in the Roosevelt district warehouse, delivering and installing stereo systems and selling Hi-Fi gear.

Jim brought insight and enthusiasm into the music and electronics youth culture. He immediately found his passion, enjoying seeing people’s eyes light up when he introduced new cutting edge products. The switch to stereo proved to be great timing, coming at the dawn of the 1970’s home stereo revolution.Together, father and son pioneered the home theater concept where they were known throughout the industry, eventually expanding Magnolia Audio Video to 18 locations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

In 1992, Jim became the president and CEO of Magnolia Audio Video, taking over the day-to-day operations of the business. Magnolia Audio Video went on to become the most award winning electronic entertainment retailer in the nation, until Best Buy purchased Magnolia in 2000. In 2013, Magnolia was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.

From the time Jim was a little boy and throughout his life, he had a zest for living and loved having a good time. He was an outstanding natural athlete who excelled in skiing and golf. Jim was an active member of the Bel Air Country Club, the Madison Club and Bighorn Golf Club. He and his then wife, Ilsa and their children enjoyed many years at their homes in Palm Desert, Seattle, Sun Valley and Aspen. Known for his tremendous charisma, Jim would light up a room with his smile and hearty laugh. He was endearing to the people who knew him, always giving more than he took, making people feel good when you were around him. As his good friends say, “Jim was a generous and caring soul. A good friend.”

Private services will be held in his memory at a later date. Condolences and memories can be shared at

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