“There is a new pair of Dancing Feet in Heaven”
Margie loved to dance! We met on Thanksgiving Day Eve, November 1944, at the USO Hospitality House in Oakland, California. I had arrived in Oakland via train from San Diego Naval Training Center to my new station Alameda Naval Air Station. After moving my sea-bag into my new quarters and taking a shower, I decided to walk up Broadway Street in Oakland and find the USO location. My brother, Gaylord, also in the Navy, had told me about the Hospitality House in Oakland, and recommended it highly for having a good time dancing with the USO girls! But most importantly he mentioned a red-haired girl named Margie and said she was the best dancer there. Well, I found the USO, went in and started looking over the dancers. Mostly Navy sailors, a few Marines, and fewer Army soldiers. Oakland during World War II was considered a Navy town. As I searched the dancing crowd I saw a very cute red-haired girl dancing, wearing a red blouse, navy blue skirt and white saddle shoes. She was really jitterbugging with a sailor. I waited until they finished two numbers and then cut in which was the “Hop House Rules.” Two dances and then you could cut in, the male partner had to agree and move away with no fuss. I tapped Margie on the shoulder and asked if I could have the next dance. She said yes and then asked me if I was Gaylord Wagner’s brother. I replied yes of course and that was the start of our life together for the next 73 1/2 years. Now, as Paul Harvey always stated, “Let me tell you the rest of the story.” Margie Lorraine Casavecchia was born January 12, 1926 to Santi and Lucille Casavecchia in Oakland, California. Her father “Sam” emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1906 from the Piamonte area from a family of seven brothers. Her Mother’s maiden name was Vecchio. They were part of a large, Italian-American population in the Bay Area. Her Mother “Isabell” was born in San Francisco. She remembers the 1906 earthquake and torrential fires that resulted from broken natural gas pipes. Margie’s parents were quite active within their large Italian families. Margie played the accordion for many picnics and weddings. Her father had an accordion manufactured for Margie in San Francisco. Margie attended school in Oakland and Berkeley, and was planning to attend U.C. Berkeley. With a record of all “A’s” for the past four years except for one “D” given by a teacher in economics when Margie changed a dress she made so it was more attractive off the shoulder which infuriated the teacher. Margie then decided to attend Merritt Business College in Oakland majoring in Accounting. She graduated with a record of straight “A’s” for three years. Little did she realize what a help she would be to her husband, Bill, in his business activities in future years. Margie and William L. Wagner were married on June 3, 1945 in Berkeley Little Chapel of the Flowers. They remained in the Bay area for five years before moving to Sacramento. In Sacramento Bill started his own Real Estate and Construction Business where Margie was in charge of the accounting for the next ten years. In 1970 they moved to Santa Barbara where Bill became affiliated with Sambo’s Restaurants. In Santa Barbara, both Margie and Bill, became active golfers at La Cumbre Country Club. Bill became President of La Cumbre in 1980. During the following years they made many visits throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and finally adding South America to their list. They joined the Los Fiesteros Dance Club in Santa Barbara which they enjoyed for many years. From 1985 to 2010 they maintained a home in Rancho Mirage where Margie appeared in the Spotlight Reviews every year. She finally had a chance to tap dance to her heart’s content! Margie is survived by her husband Bill Sr. and oldest son Bill Jr. (Carol). Their second son, Eric Scott, had a serious stroke and brain tumor in May 2017 and passed away. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Bill III (Wendy), Kimberly (Kevin), Haley (Wesley), Casey (Leah), and Maximillian (Kristen), eleven great grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.
A memorial Funeral Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church at 20 East Constance Street at 1:00 PM on February 3, 2019. A reception will follow at La Cumbre Country Club from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.
All are welcome to attend.
This obituary was prepared by Bill Sr. (Margie’s dancing partner for many years). They would have been married 74 years on June 3, 2019.