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Remembering William Eugene Wagner, II
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Remembering William Eugene Wagner, II

by Gail Malm-Armstrong, CER, CET

 

“THE PERSONAL PROFESSOR”

William Eugene Wagner, II quietly passed from among us on July 7, 2017, in Bothell, Washington. While many AAERT members may not recognize his name or his face, AAERT owes a great deal of its current status as a nationally-recognized organization to William Eugene Wagner, II. Writing about the totality of William’s accomplishments would take many pages of paper and thousands of words. Please consider with me just a few of his deeds as we remember Bill Wagner’s life and body of work.

During a portion of 1967 to 1969 while in New York City, Bill worked in the art department of a large publishing concern drawing illustrations. Some of his most significant work was a series of illustrations for a Bible encyclopedia, Aid to Bible Understanding (Volume A-E, 544 pages, 1969). Drawings were done by pen in India ink on large acetate sheets which were later photo reduced and etched onto curved rotary printing plates. Photographs and other research materials were available at the time, but these renditions were not mere tracings from projections.1

Bill was co-owner and founder of Wagner-Fuss, a successful and well-known reporting and transcription firm located in Bothell, Washington. Bill and Karl Fuss were both instrumental in many ways with the immense body of work they contributed to AAERT including accounting tasks, research, composing web site language and maintaining the site. Both possessed a wealth of knowledge on any subject.

The founding concepts for AAERT began with Connie Rill (California), who in 1993 invited two associates, Steve Townsend (Arizona) and Janet Harris (Wisconsin), to explore forming an organization to represent the electronic court reporting and transcribing industry. AAERT was formed in March of 1994 when about 75 interested private-sector practitioners met in Las Vegas to formally inaugurate AAERT. Bill was one of the original members of the AAERT Board of Directors and served as Treasurer.2

Additionally, Bill Wagner worked on the first official AAERT Electronic Court Reporting best practices guide. This Certification Test Study Guide documented best practices for electronic court reporting and transcribing and served as an aid to AAERT members to prepare for the early AAERT Certification exams. Initial scripts used for the Reporter practical examinations and for Transcriber practical examinations were written by Connie Rill, Bill Wagner, and Mary Ann Lutz. Without the exhaustive efforts of Bill, other volunteers, and legacy Board members, the AAERT certification exams would not exist.

Since its founding in 1994, the Association has represented electronic court reporters and court transcribers. Bill was elected to its charter board of directors, was treasurer for 14 terms, and served four terms as executive director. For many years he assisted in preparing content, graphics, and layout for The Court Reporter, the Association's quarterly journal which was originally printed and mailed to the membership. With the onset of the Internet, Karl Fuss became AAERT’s webmaster and, with his partner, Bill Wagner, learned HTML and built and maintained the AAERT web site which was used for many years. Bill was known by some as “the personal professor.”

AAERT created the Wagner-Fuss Distinguished Service Award in honor of Karl Fuss and Bill Wagner. The award is presented from time to time to members whose contributions to the Association merit special recognition. While you may have never met Bill, AAERT as it exists today owes a great deal to this quiet and unassuming man.

William was also an avid researcher, created pedigree charts, extensively researched his family’s origins and DNA, and did photographic enhancement. He composed detailed charts, interpretive renderings of maps, and created animated overlays of topographic maps. Mr. Wagner also wrote poetry. “Prospect Park” was thought to have been written between 1969 and 1971 in New York, USA. Indeed, it is a beautiful and poignant reflection of his creativity as we fondly remember Bill Wagner in this fall of the year 2017.

PROSPECT PARK

Late fall dew
soaking through my socks and shoes
the grass is wet
damp air, too
and chill.

This is November now.
Stiff north breezes meet me.
I hear rustling voices.

Leaves one and all, they've fled before the wind,
agitated lemmings, nervous to escape.
As I scuff along I crack their bones.

Later on, weekend strollers, tugging dogs
with kids in tow
will come and bring some other sounds.

But now I stride ahead
restless with the leaves.

Stiff north breezes meet me.3

REFERENCES CITED
1Photo Gallery
2History of AAERT
3Poetry


Gail Malm Armstrong is an AAERT Certified Reporter & Transcriber & Chair of the AAERT Communications Committee.

 

Gail Malm Armstrong, CER, CET
gailmalm@gmail.com



 

 

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