Anne Bowers Waggoner
Beloved wife, passionate teacher, energetic volunteer
Anne Bowers Waggoner, a longtime Claremont High School English teacher, died on Thursday, January 17, 2013. She was 92.
Mrs. Waggoner was born in Lorain, Ohio on April 16, 1920. After graduating from Lorain High School in 1938, she attended Oberlin College, majoring in Latin and graduating in 1942. She then went on to Northwestern University, earning a master’s degree in 1947.
In 1951, Mrs. Waggoner married Jack Holmes Waggoner, Jr. in Riverside, California. They moved to Claremont, where Mrs. Waggoner lived for the remainder of her life.
The Waggoners had a shared devotion for education. Mr. Waggoner was a physics professor at Harvey Mudd College, while Mrs. Waggoner was an English instructor, with a teaching career that spanned 40 years. She taught 11 years at Whittier Junior High School in Lorain, Ohio, 8 years at Polytechnic High School in Riverside and 21 years at Claremont High School. Mrs. Waggoner received a Teacher of the Year award from Claremont High School in 1972 and retired in 1982.
Across the board, Mrs. Waggoner’s colleagues have high praise for her personal charm and dedication to her students and subject matter.
“Anne was a remarkable teacher,” retired Claremont High School English teacher Rosemary Adam said. “She was very professional—kind of an old-fashioned schoolmarm—and she was very well-respected.”
Marilyn Penn, who taught literature at Claremont High School for many years, concurred.
“To say that Anne was ‘old-school’ is, for many of us, the ultimate compliment,” Ms. Penn said. “She embodied a passion for language—its beauty and expressiveness, its ability to charm, to inspire, to enlighten and to entertain—and passed on this appreciation to her students, whom she loved with equal fervor. There are too few Anne Waggoners in education today.”
Mrs. Waggoner was not just an asset to her students, retired CHS English teacher Ruth Bobo emphasized.
“Anytime a question about grammar would arise, we would all say, ‘Let’s ask Anne,’” Ms. Bobo recalled. “Her library was stuffed with books that she had read and taught. She had a passion for students and their possibilities.”
Mrs. Waggoner also had a taste for beauty, according to friends.
“Whether it be figs from the tree in her backyard or cherries picked from high in the trees in Cherry Valley or roses arranged to perfection in her silver bowl, Anne would add a touch of elegance to any occasion,” Ms. Bobo said.
After retirement, Mrs. Waggoner continued to be extraordinarily active in the community. A longtime member of the Claremont United Church of Christ, Mrs. Waggoner served on the Chancel Committee and, for many years, saw to it that there was always a fresh flower arrangement on the altar. She was on the board of directors of Volunteer Vital English, was active in the Rembrandt Club of Pomona College, for which she organized bus trips to art museums for 4 years, and was a longtime member of the international teachers organization Delta Kappa Gamma, holding several different offices and committee chairmanships in the local chapter over the years. Mrs. Waggoner was also active with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Pomona Valley, writing and editing the organization’s monthly newsletter for many years.
Mrs. Waggoner is survived by her husband, Jack; by her nephew, John Stringfellow of Downey; by her sister-in-law, Marylou Nack of Columbus, Ohio; by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Chandler and Judith Waggoner of Carmel, Indiana; by her brother-in-law, Harvey Wahls of Raleigh, North Carolina and by many friends.
Contributions in memory of Mrs. Waggoner may be made to Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 Harrison Ave., Claremont, CA 91711, or to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Pomona Valley, PO Box 537, Claremont CA 91711.