In Memoriam : Ward Wagner

March 6, 1948 ~ February 16, 2021 (age 72) 72 Years Old


Ward Wagner March 6th 1948 – February 16, 2021A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out. George Bernard ShawAll those who knew and will miss Ward Wagner describe him the same way: he was indeed a consummate gentleman who listened more than he spoke, cared about everyone, kept his gentle nature and patience, and proved himself an astute businessperson from the time he built his first house-right out of high school, through his steady success and sterling reputation in the travel industry, all the way through to his last project, a stark, distinctive modern home he completed in 2020.Ward was born in 1948 in Richmond, Michigan, to his parents, Franklin (Bud) and Eleanor Wagner. Growing up as an only child, Ward always had an instinctive ability to make friends. As a young man, he performed in St. Clair Theater Guild Productions-no doubt where he gained tips to hone his natural charm. To those of us who knew and loved Ward, it’s not surprising he stayed in touch all his life with his friends and business associates, that was just his style as his many lifelong relationships attest. Not only did Ward make friends anywhere he went; more importantly, he remembered and cherished those people throughout his life. Truly, his circle of friends is as vast as the seas he traveled.In the mid ’70s, Ward moved to Denver and began work at Lakewood Travel, where he quickly advanced to the position of Vice President of the company. He next moved to Sitmar Cruises as District Sales Manager. From there, Ward settled into his notably long-time career with Holland America Line until his retirement in 2019.While at Holland America, Ward received numerous honors for his leadership, performance, and dedication. Always eager to share his love of cruising, it was a thrill for him to take his mother, who had severe osteoporosis, and his aunt, who had survived Polio and still needed a wheelchair, on several memorable cruises. He showed the same bravery and joy for life throughout his own illness, never complaining and always casting his vibrant eyes toward the next adventure ahead.Throughout the years, people routinely turned to Ward for his travel business acumen. And Ward was more than happy to share what he knew with anyone who asked-friend, colleague, or industry competition: to Ward, they were all the same. He was one of those lucky individuals born with a natural inclination to help others succeed.He responded the same way when friends would ask his advice about home remodeling and real estate purchases and selling. Pragmatic and kind, he gave the same solid advice that experience had taught him. It goes without saying that there is a large group of people who considered Ward a wise counsel, good friend, gentle listener, and trusted confidante.Because travel brought him joy, he saw a great part of the world. Lizard Island, Australia; the fjords and channels of Chile and Seabourn Cruises remain some of his all-time favorites.Humble and gracious until his last breath, Ward passed peacefully at Denver Hospice with his longtime companion, Roger Kopp, at his side. (Billie got to make a visit too.)In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ward Wagner’s name to the Lois Wagner Memorial Library in Richmond, MI (586-727-2665) or Colorado Puppy Rescue ( An informal memorial gathering is scheduled for this summer.We invite you to share your pictures, remembrances, and stories in the guestbook provided. Your memories will bring great joy and comfort to all of us who loved Ward and need them most.Memorial arrangements Entrusted to Mile High Family Services of Denver, Colorado.

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