March 14, 1938 - June 10, 2021
Auburn, California - Saul Wiseman, 83, Whose Thoughtful Teaching Style Shaped
a Generation at Placer and Del Oro High Schools.
Saul Wiseman, on June 10, 2021, at age 83, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, in no pain, and he remained razor sharp to the end. He died of Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which was diagnosed in April 2021. He passed while looking out over his home's American River canyon views and near the gardens he thoroughly enjoyed. He will be dearly missed.
Shortly after being born in Chicago, Illinois, he was adopted by a Jewish couple, Abe and Reggie Wiseman. His nurturing parents and raised him to be a life-long learner, and fueled his interests in advocating for social change, music, the arts, writing, and the news.
After attending public schools in Chicago, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he graduated from Fairfax High School in 1956. He played the trumpet in the Los Angles Youth Symphony and later the stand-up bass. In 1959, he hitchhiked across the country to New York City, and then spent six months traveling in Europe having adventures in Rome, Paris and London.
In 1960, he met Judith ("Julie") Wallgren of San Francisco, while working as a cook at Yosemite National Park at the Vogelsang High Sierra Camp. She was from San Francisco and was attending San Francisco State. She was also in Yosemite at the village restaurant and claimed to have experience as a waitress, which he quickly concluded was not the case. They fell in love and continued to work in Yosemite for the next three summers.
While living in the Haight Ashbury with the Vietnam War escalating, he served as an Air Force reservist, and was fortunately not deployed.
He and Julie were married in 1963 in San Francisco at the Holy Name Catholic Church. In 1964, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in English. He then earned his general secondary teaching credential from San Francisco State.
In 1966, they moved to Auburn, and he began his 33 year career with the Placer Union High School District. He taught at Placer High School from 1967-1970. During that time, he taught drama, while directing what was considered the "Golden Era of Drama at Placer" with productions of "Finian's Rainbow," "South Pacific," and "West Side Story." The productions drew local critical acclaim, and the students were so interested that all singer and dancer positions were double-casted. In addition to his teaching schedule, he also taught student journalism and debate, and his students won various competitions.
In 1967, the couple had their first child, Julianne Theresa ("Peach") Wiseman. In 1969, the couple had their second child, Dylan Wallgren Wiseman.
In 1970, he transferred to Del Oro High School in Loomis, California where he taught English and Journalism. He served as the advisor to the school newspaper, the Black and Gold, which under his direction was awarded Best High School Newspaper in the Greater Sacramento Area by the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
Also, in the 1970s, he started running and ran in 6 marathons, and qualified for the Boston Marathon. He became a member of the "Ophir Prison Inmates," a group of Del Oro High School teachers who engaged in long-distance running.
In the 1970s, as soccer became more prevalent in the United States, he founded the Auburn Youth Soccer Club, and served as one of its first presidents. He also coached his son's teams, refereed games on the weekends, and became an enduring soccer fan.
In the late 1970s, he took an interest in racquetball, and was one of the earliest members of the Auburn Racquet Club. Twice a week he would return covered in sweat and bruises from racquetball.
In 1982, when his daughter was about to start high school at Placer High School, he transferred back to Placer High School. At Placer High School, he taught English and Advanced Placement English. He was famous for wearing a necktie every day, and took his teaching position very seriously. He instilled organizational structure and writing clarity upon his English students, many of whom later expressed their grateful thanks.
In the late 1980s, he developed an appreciation for Japanese culture because of their reverence for the teaching profession. In his first trip to Japan in 1988, he met up with his son, who was on a youth exchange program in Kyoto, Japan. In 1990, he and Julie took a year's leave of absence from their teaching positions and moved to Hiroshima, Japan and taught English at the Hiroshima College of Foreign Languages.
Before he retired from teaching in 1999, he started Saul's Select Nursery, a retail nursery specializing in perennials and flowering shrubs. He was always fascinated by plants, propagation, and horticulture. For seven years, he sold plants at local farmer's markets and from his home in Auburn.
In retirement, he continued with his relentless thirst of newspapers, subscribing to the New York Times, the Sacramento Bee and the Auburn Journal. A student of current political issues and American culture, he was an avid reader. He also spent many afternoons playing online chess against players from all around the world. He also enjoyed the monthly dinner meetings of the Civic Affairs Group, an Auburn-based organization which met for the last forty years to discuss local political and socio-economic issues.
He was the first male president of the Auburn Garden Club, serving as president for 6 years. At that time, he also combined his love of writing and gardens and was a garden journalist featured weekly in the Auburn Journal. He traveled the U.S. attending several garden-writers symposiums.
From 2004 to 2016, he served as the president of the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club, and enthusiastically promoted the organization. When he stepped down as president, the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club renamed its community garden grant program to "the Saul Wiseman Grants." He continued to serve on the Grants Committee until 2020.
In 2016, he traveled to New York City with his son and grandchildren where he and his son caught the original Broadway production of Hamilton. "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story . . . ."
His life was enormously influential to his family, students, co-workers, friends, club members, and the Auburn community. He is survived by his wife, Julie, a retired educator; his son Dylan, a lawyer in San Francisco and Sacramento; his daughter-in-law, Emily Howe, a gender equity consultant; and Dylan's two sons, Evan Wiseman, a senior the University of Oregon, and Charlie Wiseman, a high school junior and artist. Peach passed in September of 2020.
Information about the Sacramento Perennial Plant Club's Saul Wiseman Grants, can be found at https://sacramentoperennialplantclub.org/grants
or please contact [email protected]
Please donate by sending a check to:
Sacramento Perennial Plant Club,
C/O Marcia Leddy, Treasurer, 3145 17th Street, Sacramento. CA 95818.
Published by & from Jun. 26 to Jun. 27, 2021.