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Bruce Wagner

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Bruce Wagner Obituary
Bruce Dutton Wagner Resident of San Mateo Born February 6, 1927; had the same birthday as Ronald Wilson Reagan of which he was always proud; died September 1, 2012 at his home, with his beloved wife, Nancy, and his sons Stephen and Ronan, and his daughter-in-law and granddaughter, Simone and Julia at his side. Bruce was Born in Connecticut, near the family farm in Cromwell, which is near Hartford; when he was seven, the family moved to Philadelphia. His father, Ernest, was in the insurance business, and became Secretary of The Phoenix of Hartford, one of America's most prominent insurers in the mid-century. His father was transferred to San Mateo when Bruce was a teenager and he grew up with his mother, Berthe, after his father passed away. After graduating from Drew School, a San Francisco Preparatory school, he enlisted in the Army when he was 19 and was sailing toward Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped, ending the war. He then enrolled in USF for college, graduated and then attended Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, where he graduated and passed the bar. He then went to work at the San Mateo County District Attorney's office under Keith Sorenson and rose to the level of trying the most serious of felony cases in that office. During his term as a deputy district attorney, Bruce earned his certification from the state bar as a "Certified Criminal Law Specialist." In 1966, he joined the Redwood City firm of Ropers, Majeski where he worked until retirement, trying major personal injury and high exposure cases. In his career, Bruce tried more than 400 cases to verdict, a feat impossible to achieve in today's legal climate. He was renown for his cross-examination skills, rapport-building, charm and skill before a jury. Bruce's skill as a Trial lawyer was recognized by his colleagues all over the nation, exemplified in his membership in The American Board of Trial Advocates and the American College of Trial Lawyers the two most distinguished national and international legal associations for America's top trial lawyers. Bruce served as a mentor to thousands of trial lawyers both in and out of state. He was very active in continuing legal education programs and served as an instructor in several Trial Skills seminars. Bruce was a great lover of Ireland where he travelled many times with his Dublin-born Nancy; they had many friends in that lovely country. Bruce and Nancy were especially thrilled when their old friend and best man in their wedding, Bob Kane, was named by President Reagan to be Ambassador to Ireland in 1982 Bruce and Nancy were among Bob's first guests in the ambassador's residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Bruce and Nancy loved to travel, and Bruce was also a great lover of the Catholic Church, having been active in St. Bartholomew's and St. Catherine's in San Mateo and Burlingame. Bruce and Nancy have countless friends on the peninsula and were active in many social, domino and charitable activities over the years. Bruce was an avid sports fan and enjoyed the personal friendship of peninsula greats such as Tom Haller and Jimmy Davenport. A memorial mass celebrating Bruce's life will be held at St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church in San Mateo on Saturday, September 22, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Sept. 9, 2012
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