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Darryl Wagar

on November 24th, 2013 by mark

Darryl’s smile was infectious. He bounced when he walked and he never really seemed to stand still. He was always swaying or moving, pointing things out, describing what was going to happen next. Darryl had vision.

The only time I ever saw him frown was at a Pleasant Valley Recreation and Parks District Board meeting and it was because he was poring over numbers adding up some absurd amount trying to make sense of it all. He was the superintendent of parks there and he loved his work. Darryl passed away last Thursday from stomach cancer.

By the time we’d met, I was already writing extensively, nearly daily, for the Ventura County Star. During 2011, if I wasn’t their busiest freelancer, I was close to it. Coincidentally, the paper’s normal Camarillo beat reporter resigned and there were many things happening at the park district, so I volunteered often as I could to write about it. I got to know a lot of the people there and still count all of them as friends. I reported honestly and they appreciated that.

Darryl chased me down in a damp parking lot one night after I’d left a board meeting before it adjourned. He gave me his card and told me anytime I wanted to know more about the district or tour the parks in it, to give him a call. I don’t recall the reason I did call and take him up on it but the two of us spent a couple of hours together driving from park to park, even hiking into one of the parks that borders untamed brush and wild land. Darryl careened down one hill and picked out a plant at the bottom with seeds that tasted like licorice. I took my daughter there a few weeks later and allowed her to taste them. She was entranced by the idea that you could get licorice from a bush.

I spoke with Darryl about once a week for a few months in 2011 and afterward, about once a month until a year ago or so when the paper hired a full-time reporter on the Camarillo beat. I still kept in touch when I could, but not as much. We had a few things in common, he had more kids than I do, but both of us were about the same age and loved our work. Darryl talked excitedly about his family and enjoyed being a dad and a husband. I’ve never met his family, but I feel as though I should now.

Sadness isn’t a big enough word to encompass the losses we’ve sustained this year and Darryl’s is one more of those. I cannot say we were ever close friends, but I spent enough time with him to care about him and enjoy his company. It’s that theme again-the one that tells me to cherish the people we meet, whether they are work colleagues or good friends. Our time is not promised us.

The rest of those who have gone before us cannot steady the unrest of those to follow…


Posted in Work/writing life

One Response to “Darryl Wagar”

  1. Mark Malloy says:

    Daryl enjoyed life and the things he discovered living it more than most people you will ever meet. He did everything with enthusiasm and coupled with an inquisitive mind, he was an expert on a very broad range of subjects. He will be greatly missed at PVRPD for many reasons. He added so much to the enjoyment and productivity of all who worked with him, that his loss will be deeply felt by many.

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