Richard Bailey Wagnon, a 60-year Santa Monica resident, former director of the Santa Monica High School Band, and former Music Supervisor of the Santa Monica Unified School District, died on Nov. 25, 2014, from complications of a heart valve transplant. He was 88.
He enjoyed a long career with the Santa Monica schools. He began as the high school band director in 1955. In the mid-1960’s, he was elevated to supervisor of music for the Santa Monica School District. In that position, he served as the coordinator of the annual “Stairway of the Stars” musical program, which featured instrumental and vocal music performances by outstanding elementary, middle-school and high-school students, showcasing the strength of the music program in the Santa Monica Schools. He finished his career in the school district as the principal of Franklin Elementary School and retired from the district after more than 30 years of service.
For most of his life, he played the trumpet in a wide variety of musical groups. For over 40 years, he jammed with the Friday Jazz Group on a weekly basis. He played in the City of Los Angeles Police Band for many years. He enjoyed playing in, and occasionally directing, the Santa Monica Community College Emeritus Concert Band.
He was active in the Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica for many years. He was particularly proud of his yearly work selecting the Kiwanis music scholarship recipients.
Survivors include his children, son Wes W. Wagnon and Karen Graf of Oakland, CA, son Bradley J. Wagnon, of El Cajon, CA, daughter Wendy L. Yoshinaga and her husband, Gerald, of Alpine, CA, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. His wife Marjorie J. Wagnon, his brother Jack D. Wagnon, and his sister Louella L. Thompson all died earlier.
A memorial service will be held on Jan. 3, 2015 at 1 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 1008 Eleventh Street, Santa Monica. There will be a reception immediately following at 101 Esparta Way, Santa Monica.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests consideration of a donation to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation (www.vh1savethemusic.org).
For further information, go to: www.RichardWagnon.info