Lloyd Alvin Wagner, Jr., 1925-2018
Kenwood lost a long-time friend and proud citizen with the passing of Lloyd Wagner on April 17, 2018. At the age of 92, Lloyd enjoyed good health, the love of his five children, a lifetime of outdoor adventures, and good living at the family home he built in Adobe Canyon. He died peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.
Born and raised in Alameda to Lloyd and Florence Wagner, Lloyd graduated from Alameda High School in 1944. As a recent high school graduate, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps for World War II. He served as a sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1946.
Lloyd was no stranger to hard work. His first job was as a cooper; he earned $1.10 an hour. A member of the Stevedore union, he loaded and unloaded barges plying the Bay from Oakland to San Francisco.
After the war, he and his pal Don Lane took a road trip to Yosemite which led to a short stint of busing dishes at the Lodge. As winter approached, their living accommodations in a tool shed proved to be too much for Lloyd and his pal. As Lloyd’s family grew he shared these adventures with his children, spending many happy summers in California’s crown jewel of a park.
He attended College of Marin, and during his studies he reconnected with Janet McGuire, a high school classmate, and their friendship blossomed. They were married Nov. 6, 1948. They started their family in San Leandro with Doug, followed soon by Cathy, JR, John and Tom. The couple were happily married for 57 years until Janet passed away in 2006.
Kenwood had been a summer retreat for the extended Wagner clan since the 1930s. In 1963, Lloyd began building a summer home in Kenwood, and by 1966 the summer home became the Wagner’s permanent residence. As the house was just completed in 1964 the “Big Fire” raged in Adobe Canyon. Lloyd fought it alongside men from the Kenwood Fire Department, and he soon became a valued member of the KFD, serving as a treasurer for many years.
In his early years, Lloyd worked as a bookkeeper in San Francisco for several firms before becoming a furniture salesman. After the furniture business, including a time with the Bruener family in 1952, he founded L&S Rug Layers in Oakland, eventually signing contracts with Macy’s, Sears, Montgomery Ward and others. He also installed carpet in the Mormon Temple in Oakland. JR remembered that you could always spot the company’s distinctive pink trucks. Lloyd closed L&S when he moved to Kenwood and founded Wagner Carpet in 1966. 52 years later, his son Doug still runs Wagner Carpet.
The Wagner family became an integral part of the Kenwood community. Four of the five Wagner children attended Kenwood School, with Doug starting off in the first-ever class at Rincon Valley Junior High in 1966. Both Lloyd and Janet served on the Kenwood School Association board; he served as president in the late ‘60s. He also served the community as a Kenwood 4-H leader and Cub Scout leader. He attended the Kenwood Community Church with his family.
Lloyd was one of the best carpet installers in Northern California. His accounts included some of the biggest businesses in the area.
Travelling was a big family event, with trips every year across the country. His love of travel kept him moving even after Janet died, often taking day and overnight trips with his daughter Cathy and granddaughter Catie.
John remembers his father’s love of the outdoors. “We had many early childhood adventures all along the Sierra Nevada, skiing, backpacking, fishing with our growing family.”
“Dad always loved the water,” says daughter Cathy Fletcher. “If he wasn’t swimming, he was fishing, and if not fishing, he was water skiing, kayaking, or traveling by boat somewhere.”
He liked sailing small Hobie catamarans all over California, eventually owning 16-foot, 17-foot, and 18-foot versions. Son Tom and Frank Devincenzi were his main sailing partners and crew in the later years. They sailed Monterey Bay and competed in many inland events. An abalone diver and salmon fisherman, Lloyd could bring home a good dinner from the sea, too.
A good-natured, independent outdoorsman, he always included his children in his outings. He also imparted his love of doing – from keeping his property in tip top shape, to fixing whatever needed fixing. Cathy remembers him working all day and coming home to do another two hours of bookkeeping and house chores.
“I would like to say that my fondest memories of my father were the years we spent sailing together, and backpacking and fishing,” Tom Wagner said. “He was a wonderful father, stern and firm, and you knew where you stood.”
Doug worked side by side with his father at Wagner Carpet for 15 years learning the skills of the craft.
All the children remember their dad telling stories. John recalled, “He had stories of trains, planes, automobiles, and of course boats. To say that he was a story teller is an understatement.”
Lloyd is survived by his children – Doug Wagner, Cathy (Jim) Fletcher, Jay R. Wagner, John Wagner (Carol), and Tom (Marina) Wagner; six grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. Grandson Brian Fletcher predeceased Lloyd in 2007.
Family and friends are invited to attend a funeral service on Friday, May 18, at 11 a.m. at the Lafferty & Smith Colonial Chapel, 4321 Sonoma Hwy., Santa Rosa. Private interment will be at Santa Rosa Memorial Park. Visitation will commence one hour prior to service time at the funeral home. If desired, memorial contributions in Lloyd’s name may be directed to The Kenwood Firefighters Association, Kenwood Fire Protection District, P.O. Box 249, Kenwood, CA 95452.
– Jay Gamel