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Civic leaders remember sound man Kurt Wagner

Dies at 53; involved for years with local charities

Posted: November 27, 2009 10:36 p.m.
Updated: November 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Kurt Wagner

 
An Acton sound engineer who died last week will be missed for his acts of kindness after years of offering free and discounted sound services to local charities, city officials and event organizers said.

Kurt Wagner, 53, was found dead in his home on Nov. 20 after years of struggling against rheumatoid arthritis, said his son Kurtis Wagner, 20.

Coroner's officials are still investigating the cause of his death, Wagner's son said. But he added that his father's illness flared up over the past year, sending him in and out of the hospital.

Wagner served as president of the Canyon Country Chamber of Commerce in 1990 and was active for years afterward as a chamber board member and community activist, said Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar.

But Wagner, the owner of Center Stage Productions, was really known through his work for groups that raised money for good causes, he added.

"Kurt always (gave) a huge deduction in his fees for any of the charities around town," Kellar said.

Wagner has for years been a crucial factor in running the city's annual Fourth of July parade in Old Town Newhall, said Parade Chairman Leon Worden. He usually helped by providing four or five sound stations for the event, Worden said.

"I literally don't know what we're going to do without him in the (next) parade," Worden said. "He knew his business. ... You have to have a particular skill set to do sound engineering well. That's why everybody hired Kurt."

Wagner's son, an only child, said he will miss the father he worked with since he was a young child.

"He was a great dad," said Wagner's son, who described him as outgoing and one to always speak his mind. "He taught me everything I know. ... He'd show me once and then he'd say, ‘Okay, it's your turn. Just do it.'"

The 20-year-old said his father will also be missed for his vibrant personality.

Wagner worked hard, even to the very end, his son added. The day Wagner died, the two were scheduled to run sound equipment for the SCV Boys & Girls Club's Festival of Trees, his son said.

"He worked hard," Kurtis Wagner said. "I think he was definitely the best at what he did."

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