I.J. "Izzi" Wagner
I.J. "Izzi" Wagner "Semper Fi" Irving Jerome "Izzi" Wagner, 89, died Feb. 1, 2005 in Salt Lake City after a long life and a short illness. Izzi was born March 31, 1915 at 144 W. Third South in Salt Lake City, the second of three children of Harry and Rose Wagner. He was a proud alumnus of West High School, class of 1932. When Harry died in 1932, Izzi and Rose took over the family business, Wagner Bag Co., then heavily in debt during the Depression. They built the business into one of the most successful companies of its kind in the country. The family later sold Wagner Bag to St. Regis Paper Company, and Izzi served on the St. Regis board of directors for many years. Izzi's lifelong commitment to improving Salt Lake City helped shape the downtown community. He was a long-time member of the Salt Lake Planning and Zoning Commission, where he led the campaign to remove oversized signs and billboards from downtown streets. He was on the Salt Palace Advisory Board when the Convention Center was built and on the Airport Advisory Board when it was reorganized as an independent board. In 1978, Utah Holiday Magazine named Izzi one of the 20 most influential men in Utah. At one time, Izzi and various partners owned properties on the west side of Main Street between Second and Third South. He bought Trolley Square when it was just dilapidated bus barns. He developed Wagner Industrial Park and he bought and sold other properties in Salt Lake City and Ogden. His generosity made possible the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, built on the site of the adobe house where he was born, and the I. J. and Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center near the University of Utah. He made significant contributions to LDS Hospital, University Hospital and other health care organizations. He joined the Marines in 1942 and was among the first troops ashore at Guadalcanal, where he contracted malaria and was evacuated to the States. (He joked that a mosquito saved his life during World War II.) He was a long-time board member of Zions Bancorporation and a member of the Salt Lake Rotary Club, the Japanese-American Civic League, the Utah Manufacturers Association, and other business and civic organizations. His wit and humor made him a popular speaker and valued friend. Izzi married his beloved Jeanne Rasmussen in August, 1942. She died in 1993. He is survived by sister-in-law, Kay Schott, two nieces, Saundra Peterson and Candace Wagner, and dozens of friends from all walks of life. Izzi was buried in the B'Nai Israel Cemetery in Salt Lake City. At his request, there was no funeral. Those wishing to do so may make contributions in his memory to the Wagner Jewish Community Center.
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4, 2005.
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11 Entries
I was the "House Guy" for the Rose Wagner Center before it even opened. Izzi would drop by often to see how things were going. He always had a joke, a smile and interesting gossip. I love you, Izzi, we need more like you.
Brad Henrie
February 8, 2005
Izzi was one of the nicest, funniest, most unassuming people you could ever meet. I had lunch with him a couple of times, would run into him at the Rose Wagner, and often at Smiths in the Avenues. It was always a better day for having seen him. Lucky Salt Lake to have had such a generous and wonderful son.
Katharine Clark Reilly
February 6, 2005
While I never knew Mr. Wagner, I have certainly benefitted from his generosity. I was there at the opening celebration of the Jeanne Wagner Theater, and have had the great pleasure of participating in a variety of projects throughout the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, even doing scenes from Macbeth in the inner bowels of the Jeanne. We who love theatre in Salt Lake City will be forever graced by his generosity, especially heartened by the love of the women in his life.

My best especially to Candy, Aaron, Olivia and Dylan.
Barbara Bellows-TerraNova
February 6, 2005
Izzi was a great man. He never met a stranger. Salt Lake will certainly miss him.
Don G. Reaveley
February 3, 2005
Izzy, I'll miss being able to stop by, maybe have some coffee, and have a little chat with you. I'll miss your jokes and your great smile with a twinkle in your eye. But you had a great and long life and made a difference in a lot of other lives. Thanks for giving us the JCC and the Performing Arts Center. They'll be used and enjoyed by many for a long time. You were a real mensch!
Don Gartman
February 3, 2005
It has been my pleasure to work for Izzy for about the past 13 years as his gardener. I loved working first with Jeanne and then with Izzy to color up the place with all those pink petunias. We did it the same way each year because Izzy said that's the way Jeanne liked it. I enjoyed Izzy's easy manner with me even though I was the "hired help". He would come out to enjoy the flowers, compliment me, and share a warm story. Since I was a teacher at West High School Izzy loved to talk about his school years and his efforts to support his alma mater. When I started my own family Izzy would turn on his fountains in the back and laugh while my little girls would splash around in them. I will remember Izzy as a warm man who was at ease with all kinds of people and genuinely wanted to make the world a better place.
Keith Homer
February 3, 2005
He changed my life and will be forever missed.
Terrie McCants
February 3, 2005
An inspiring man. My sincere condolences and best wishes to the family.
Leilani Marshall
February 3, 2005
Extrodinary man left us.
SLC should find a way to commemorate Izzi, who contributed so generously to the community.
Pinchas Tsukerman
February 3, 2005
Milt and Bessie Hoffman
February 3, 2005
Izzy was a wonderful person and a loving uncle to us.
Leon Wigrizer
February 3, 2005
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