Wilbur Malcolm Wagner (‘Will”) passed away at the Falls at Cordingly Dam on June 18, 2018 at the age of 95.
He was predeceased by Ethel, his loving wife of 70 years. He is remembered by his son, Steven Wagner and his wife Sandra, his daughter Cheryl Slesnick and her husband Michael, his son Robert Wagner and his wife Sharon, his son Bruce Wagner and his wife Nancy, his daughter Debra and her husband Abraham, grandchildren Dara Tsoukales and her husband Nikitas, Jacob Slesnick and his fiancée Pinki, Rosa Gonyer and her husband Drew, Emma Slesnick, Stacy Saldana and her husband Julian, Gregory Wagner and his wife Stacy, David Wagner and his wife Maria, Michael Wagner and his wife Rebecca, Ben Wagner, Max Wagner, Nathan Silverman, Matthew Silverman, great-grandchilren Nicholas Tsoukales, Noah Tsoukales, Liam Gonyer, Luke Wagner and Liam Saldana, and his brother-in law Jerry Backer. He also leaves numerous nieces and nephews.
Will was born in St. Louis, MO on April 24, 1923. He graduated from high school in 1941. He met Ethel in 1942 when he was 19 and she was 16. He worked for a while driving a truck in his father’s delivery company until he was drafted into the Army in 1943, where he spent 2 ½ years in Australia, primarily in Darwin. He worked as a clerk in the Adjutant General’s office. He was responsible for sending and receiving messages, which were secretive, and he often knew about troop movements in advance. Will and Ethel married on March 31, 1946, after he was discharged from the Army. Will worked for his father again and then started his retail career as a furniture salesman for a department store. By 1953, he and Ethel had three children, Steven, Cheryl and Robert.
Will always wanted to work for himself, and he accepted an opportunity to go into a retail appliance business with a relative in Los Angeles, where the family moved in 1954 and son Bruce was born two years later. Unfortunately, the venture did not work out as planned and Will went back to selling furniture. The family moved to Northern California in 1958, where Will opened a seat cover and muffler businesses and where daughter Debra was born in 1962. Will sold that business after about seven years and later opened an automatic transmission business and a mattress business. After exiting those business, Will went back to selling furniture for the last 20 years of his career. The family made their home in various places in Northern California, including Mountain View, San Jose, Saratoga and Carmel Valley with the children, and in later years in San Francisco, Springfield, MA, San Diego, West Hartford, CT and Newton, MA.
While the family moved a lot, many of the homes were custom homes that Will had designed and had built for the family. The first custom home was in Van Nuys, CA, followed by a home in Saratoga and two homes in Carmel, where Will had bought a piece of property. Will acted as the general contractor for both Carmel homes. Robert and Bruce assisted a carpenter in building the first home, and then after Will subdivided the property and sold the first home, Robert and Bruce built the second house by themselves! The second home was sold in 1983, and Will and Ethel moved to San Francisco.
In 2009, Will and Ethel moved to West Hartford, CT to live with their daughter Debra, her husband Abraham and their children. In 2013, they moved to an apartment in Newton to be close to their daughter Cheryl and husband Michael and their children. In 2016, they moved to Sunrise Assisted Living in Wayland, and Will moved to the Falls at Cordingly Dam after Ethel passed away in February 2017.
Will had an outgoing personality coupled with a great sense of humor, and wherever he moved over the years, people always enjoyed getting to know him and spend time with him. He enjoyed watching many sports, including baseball, football, basketball and golf. Baseball was always his favorite, going back to his youth as a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. After he retired, he worked as an usher for the San Francisco Giants. He also owned a sailboat for a while when he lived in San Francisco.
Will was a very loving and caring husband, and a role model for his 5 children, 12 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren (with one more on the way that he learned about two weeks ago). He will be missed by all.