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William Richard Wagner


1936 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
William Richard Wagner Obituary
February 20, 1936 - September 12, 2017 Born in Chicago, IL, in the 1936, Bill quickly developed his intellectual prowess and excelled academically. In 1952 the family moved to Westwood, California, where Bill was named Valedictorian of University High School at the age of 15 1/2. A full scholarship to Cal Tech was turned down so that he could attend UCLA Engineering school where he received his master's with an emphasis in Nuclear applications. Prior to graduation Bill started work at Rocketdyne where he enjoyed driving his Mercedes Gullwing from the Westside to Canoga Park. After 38 years 9 months and 12 days, never missing a day sick, Bill was named by his colleagues, "The Phenomenon at the Rock." With over a 100 US patents with respect to the Atlas, Thor, Jupiter, Redstone, Delta, J-2, F-1, X-33, ABL, and Space Shuttle SSME Rocket Engines, he proved to be instrumental in leading the US into space and the moon. In 1976 he was awarded Engineer of the Year and went on further to receive many NASA technology utilization awards. His boiler design on Solar One in Hemet lead the way to future technologies used today with respect to solar energy. Fast cars were always a love, as he took to El Mirage and Bonneville Salt Flats for time trials with his XKE Jaguar race cars. During the late '70s and early '80s, two land speed records were set in the GT class at El Mirage. As a beloved brother, father and grandfather, he will be greatly missed, as he was our rock, inspiration, example of greatness and friend to all that knew him. No Finer Father You taught us all so much words cannot tell; Uncounted are the secrets we have learned. But only now your lessons we learn; And in our conscience and our souls it's burned. Your secret comes from more than what you said; And that's the reason that we all excelled. You did a lot more than just teach - you led; Your life itself inspired and thus compelled. So as we feel this pain that has no cure; And wipe away the tears we cannot hide. We know from what you taught us we will endure; The way you would - with dignity and pride. You showed us how to carry on and live; Pick up the pieces and begin again. And that's the greatest gift a man can give. No finer father has there ever been.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2017
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