People stand out in your memory for many reasons, but primarily because of the impact they have had in your life. When that influence changes you in positive ways, they’ll remain forever in your heart. Lee Wagner was one of those people, and tomorrow I will attend a dedication of a library in his honor.
Lee was the Director of Training and Organizational Development and my boss for several years before he passed away in 2006. Yet for all the time I knew him, he was also a friend. He was a genuine human being with depth of character and a warm and caring personality. In addition, he had a wonderful sense of humor and often recounted humorous anecdotes from his personal experience to illustrate and make his points.
Lee was extremely intelligent, and he coupled that with wisdom. Many sought his counsel. One of his strengths shone through in the way he viewed people. He listened, really listened. Lee had an uncanny sense that allowed him to see you through the eyes of your potential, and he backed it up by helping you to achieve it. He understood the connection between professional and personal and took a genuine interest in all who crossed his path. He was never superficial.
He loved his family deeply. It showed in his eyes and the many stories he recounted about their lives. His concern for their welfare was so evident, especially in his last days. They were the pride of his life.
One of the things he taught me was to look at problems carefully. Don’t look for superficial reasons that initiated the situation, but dig deeper to find the root cause. Deal with that and you have a real solution. Once the status has changed for the positive, look back to see what lessons you have learned so that you can clarify what went well and what you don’t want to repeat in the future.
Lee made a difference with his life, and I along with a host of others miss him.