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R. Bruce VanWagner

Obituary Condolences

R. Bruce VanWagner Obituary
Van Wagner, R. Bruce 88, formerly of Lake Forest, IL, Sea Island, GA and Spring Island, SC, died peacefully at Hospice of the Golden Isles, Brunswick, GA on March 30, 2014. Mr. Van Wagner and his late wife, Laura, helped raise over a million dollars for the very same hospice in the early 2000's. Born April 16, 1925 in New York City to Claude D. and Adelaide Van Wagner (nee Mulry), Bruce was raised in Asheville, NC. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and served as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy on the USS Iowa during World War II. In 1950 Bruce married the former Jocelyn DeGance of Bronxville, NY and they raised a family of 6 children in Rye, NY; Atherton, CA; Storrs, CT and Lake Forest, IL. Jocelyn died in 1998. In 1999 Mr. Van Wagner married the former Laura Robinson of Sea Island, GA. Laura died in March, 2013. Mr. Van Wagner worked for Anaconda Wire & Cable from 1947 through 1964 where, as the youngest employee to be named Vice President of Marketing, he was instrumental in supplying all wiring for the Minuteman missile project under President Kennedy. In 1964 he entered Harvard University Business School to participate in their Advanced Management Program. Then, in 1965, he joined Brand-Rex Wire & Cable in Willimantic, CT where, as Vice President and General Manager, he played an important part in growing their business from $8 million to $50 million in the course of three years. In 1968 Bruce joined Anixter Brothers, Inc., Skokie, IL, as Executive Vice President - Operations. Over the course of 24 years he was the architect of Anixter's expansion plan and was instrumental in converting the company from a local Chicago wire and cable supplier into a global corporation that distributes communications and electrical systems. Mr. Van Wagner retired as Chairman of Anixter Brothers Inc. in 1991. Bruce was an avid golfer. He began playing at age 8 at the Asheville Country Club. As a young man he became life long friends with Harvie Ward, Jay Hebert and Lew Worsham, three of the best professional players in the game. He was a member of the Knollwood Club, Lake Forest for over 30 years and was president of the club from 1981 through 1983. Prior to that he was a member of two of the top golf clubs in the US; Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, NY and Oakmont in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was the first junior member ever admitted. He was preceded in death by his wives, Laura and Jocelyn. He is survived by his six children, Peter, Mary Jane, Laurey, Scott, Mark, Ellis; 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Memorial services will be held at the Statue of St. Francis, Old Tabby Links Golf Club, Spring Island on Saturday, April 19th, 2014 at 11:00a.m. In lieu of flowers, the Van Wagner family asks that memorials be sent to Hospice of The Golden Isles, 1692 Glynco Parkway, Brunswick, GA 31522.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Apr. 10 to Apr. 16, 2014
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