Wayne Lawrence Dahlgren
October 11, 1923 – September 25, 2017
Arrangements under the direction of Demaine Funeral Home, Alexandria, VA.
Wayne Lawrence Dahlgren
October 10, 2017
Growing up near San Francisco was a glorious treat, but Uncle Wayne's letters and visits recounting his, and Aunty Em's, travels to faraway places opened up the world to me. I am eternally grateful for their part in broadening my perspective on peoples and cultures, and helping me walk in another's shoes.
We looked forward to their trips back home every two years and especially loved watching my little cousins Steve and Bob grow up. When they couldn't be with us, most-welcomed parcels filled with gifts from mysterious places would show up on our porch. A beautiful foreign doll collection with Spanish dancers, Japanese Geishas, and lederhosen-adorned Germans thrilled my sister and I. When a silver charm bracelet appeared with my name on it one Christmas boasting the most beautiful charms--a cuckoo clock from Germany, a beach umbrella from the favorite Italian holiday on the Adriatic Uncle Wayne, as a 90 year old, still fondly remembered, and the Eiffel tower--my dreams for travel started to enfold. On subsequent birthdays and Christmases, yet another silver charm--a castle from Monaco, a Norwegian Viking ship, the Brussels World's Fair Atomium symbol--all made their way to my keepsake bracelet of the world. The seed for wanderlust had been planted.
When my husband Steve was given the opportunity to work abroad, we jumped at the chance to see the world. With our two young children in tow, our first stop was Lakenheath, England, to spend a few days with Uncle Wayne and Aunty Em before embarking on a stay near Frankfurt, Germany. Aunty Em took us to Thomas Paine's home and Kilverstone Miniature Horse Stud, while Uncle Wayne took us to see Princess Diana's and Prince Charles' wedding gifts as well as a punting adventure on the River Cam. They were always eager to share the London they loved and called home.
When Uncle Wayne came to live in Alexandria five years ago, we, again, jumped at the chance to spend some time with this uncle we loved. Coming from Philadelphia, we could easily navigate the 3 1/2 hours trip to Alexandria and make it back home in a day. How pleased Uncle Wayne was to show us his pile of lunch coupons for the Paul Spring dining hall, and how excited he was to treat us to a delicious lunch and to have us meet all his friends. I kept telling him that he was the most eligible bachelor at Paul Spring--he dressed well, had a good-looking goatee, sported either a spirited Stanford University or USS Dahlgren baseball cap. and was in obvious good spirits, filled with great stories and gratitude for family and friends. Whenever I asked him how he was doing, his standard reply was always, "I'm doing just fine." A voracious reader, I know he experienced difficulty with his diminishing eyesight, but he somehow managed to devour those large-print Michael Connolly thrillers in the best way he could.
Uncle Wayne reminded me so much of my mother and I am grateful that Steve and Bob resettled their dad in Alexandria so that we could have this time together and the chance to tell him how much we loved him.
Susan Cadwalader Johnson, Niece
October 1, 2017
That booming voice that could be heard at the furthest edge of the playground quieted yesterday. My father Wayne passed away peacefully at the age of 93. I was lucky to have the last five years with him near me in Virginia. He and I watched the Premiership together, and ate a lot of Mexican food that he'd not had access to while living in Europe.
I once visited him at his apartment and heard the sound of Western music wafting from behind his door. I found him in his recliner listening to the Sons of the Pioneers' Twilight on the Trail. He was excited to tell me about the Cowboy music station he'd found on his cable tv. He told me that it reminded him of listening to the Seattle station broadcasting across the Skagit into his boyhood living room in Mount Vernon. After that, Bob and I'd hear everything from Gene Autry to Tex Ritter in the background when we called.
"You and me in the arms of the twilight on the trailOn the trail to paradise."
October 1, 2017
Wayne Dahlgren, a five-year resident of Paul Spring, passed away in hospice care on Monday, September 25, 2017. He was 93.
Wayne was born in Mount Vernon, Washington, where he was raised on a farm. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was trained in coding and radio operations before serving in the Pacific Theater and as part of the U.S. occupying forces of Japan. After the war, he graduated from Stanford University and became a teacher.
He was soon recruited as part of the Marshall Plan to help establish the Department of Defense Dependents Schools for the children of U.S. military personnel overseas. While in Paris he met his future wife, Virginia native Emily Hobart, who was a first grade teacher. During their 52-year marriage they were stationed in Subic Bay in the Philippines; Guantanamo Bay; Naples; Bonn; Brussels; and Lakenheath, England. Their two sons Steve and Bob were born in Naples.
After a 38-year career as a principal and superintendent, Wayne retired. He and Em moved to London, a city whose culture and energy they loved. Wayne often rode the bus across town to play bridge. He returned to the U.S. in 2012, where he formed a new circle of friends at Paul Spring.
Wayne will be remembered as a master bridge player and a fan of Stanford football, the San Francisco Giants, and Western music. His son Steve often found him in his apartment listening to songs like The Sons of the Pioneers "Twilight on the Trail" which Wayne remembered hearing on the radio as a boy.