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  1. I worked with Al for over 20 years at Alameda County Water District. When he retired everyone said what a loss-so much knowledge and experience. Three years later we say it again-what a loss.

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  2. I first met Al over 30 years ago, and whenever I spent time with him I always learned something new. He was such an intelligent person and much smarter than I ever was. I really looked up to him, like he was an older brother. We had so many things in common and that enabled us to have a tremendous amount of great times together. I can say that I really knew Al extremely well because I have seen him during every different type of emotion that a person can experience, happiness, anger, depression etc. As we all grow, we sometimes find ourselves growing apart from certain people for whatever reason and sometimes with some people it may feel kind of normal like it was meant to be, but other times it may feel strange like an emptiness and you don’t even know what happened or why. We have all heard that saying “life is short” so you shouldn’t hold a grudge and you should make amends with that person before it is too late and time runs out. Well I have heard that saying many times myself, but I believe that I made a fatal error in my understanding of that saying and that is that I always thought that it only pertained to family members, maybe a parent that you have issues with or a sibling that tortured you growing up. If you are reading this I am hear to tell you that the saying definitely includes your friends too. I have completely failed Al as a friend and I hope you never make the same mistake with any of your friends. I have really missed Al over the past several years and some of the joys that I have experienced in my life were a little less fulfilling since I didn’t have him to share them with. This is a very painful goodbye and even though once again Al is teaching me something (about myself this time), I can honestly say this is the one thing I didn’t want to learn from Al.
    To everyone who loved Al, I am truly sorry for your loss.

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  3. Like Al, I am a long-time Alameda County Water District (ACWD) employee. I am shocked and was deeply saddened to hear about Al’s passing.

    Al started with ACWD on July 18, 1983 and was quickly promoted to Water Treatment Plant Operator at the Mission San Jose Water Treatment Plant. In 1994, after Water Treatment Plant 2 (WTP2) was placed into service, Al was promoted to the position of Senior Water Treatment Plant Operator at WTP2. In June 2000, Al was promoted to Treatment and Distribution Supervisor I, and three years later in 2003, he was promoted to Treatment and Distribution Supervisor II. Al was the District’s designated Chief Water Treatment Operator holding a Grade 5 Water Treatment Operator certificate, which is required by the State of California. Additionally, Al held a Grade 3 Water Distribution Operator certificate. Al retired on January 17, 2014. Most recently, Al has been assisting part-time with staff training and documentation in the Operations and Maintenance Department to capture and institutionalize as much of his vast water treatment and ACWD-specific knowledge as possible.

    Personally, I was first involved with Al in 1994 as a young engineer working on the design and construction of upgrades to the Mission San Jose Water Treatment Plant. I found Al to be dedicated, enthusiastic, thoughtful, candid, and wicked smart. Since then, I’ve only come to appreciate Al’s knowledge even more. Al was a true professional and deeply appreciated that the communities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City rely on ACWD for reliable and most-of-all, high quality and safe drinking water. In addition to being a great ACWD employee, Al was truly a wonderful person. I offer my sincerest condolences to all of Al’s family and friends. He was an asset to this community and he will be missed.

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  4. For many years, Allan was a co-worker and he remained someone I considered a friend long after I left ACWD. His dedication to producing a high-quality water for the people of the Tri-Cities was only matched by his love of football. We spent many hours debating the relative strengths of the Nittany Lions (his school) versus the Pitt Panthers (my alma mater) and only agreed to cheer for the Steelers. Allan has a place in my memory. Al’s departure will leave a hole in this world and in my heart. To all others who cared for him, my sympathies.

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  5. I had the privilege of working with Allan for 8 years when I was an employee at ACWD. Allan was an amazing co-worker and he remained a mentor, and friend, long after I left the district.
    Al, you left us too soon, you will be missed; you lived live fully and the way you wanted to live it; you worked hard and made a difference in the lives of the people living in the Tri-Cities every single day for 34 years by producing high-quality water; you were always on time and ready to roll; your work ethics were exemplary; you set the “gold standard” to all of us around you. You loved “watching the water flow” and you loved and cared for your water treatment plants like no one else I know; you referred to the plants as “she” and “her” and took pride on a job well done, always with a positive attitude.
    You took us young women engineers fresh out of college, or new to the job, under your wing, and spent the time to train us and teach us the trade. You shared your vast well of professional experience e with everyone; you taught us so much, and yet there was still so much more to learn from you! You kept few notes, your memory and understanding had no par. I will always be grateful for all the technical knowledge you shared with me: coagulation, disinfection, operations, dosing, writing distribution guidelines: “keep it short and sweet, bullet points only,” you used to say. When the task got difficult and ways of doing things changed, you adapted. You were always a trooper and a team player!
    You were a private man, but you shared a few things with me: you liked going to the Alameda County Fair and checking out the horse races; you liked going to the Sacramento State Fair every year; you were a die-hard Steelers Fan; and when I visited Pittsburg, you told me the best places to eat and sightsee.
    Al, you left us too soon! Your departure leaves a big hole in the water world, and in the many hearts you touched throughout your life. You will be truly missed. My deepest sympathies to your family and friends.

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  6. I met Al Wagner over 30 years ago as a young and impressionable 20-year-old man studying to be a Civil Engineer. Al immediately struck me as a solid and top-class man. Al loved camping next to reservoirs and rivers and through our many camping trips, he eagerly explained his knowledge of the waters we were visiting. I can still remember him praising the waters of a lake after diving in to it or offering his tidbits of a river’s watershed area and its origins. I will always remember his classic smile while he was floating in the water. If you knew Al, you knew his smile, the puffing of his cheeks as his mustache would partially hide that grin on his lips. And his chuckle when he laughed.
    Al gave us personally guided tours of the treatment plants where he worked many years ago and I tried to soak up the tidbits of knowledge he shared. Al amazed me with his knowledge of the treatment plant. Not only the biological functions, but the mechanical and hydrological parameters too. As an engineering student, I readily peppered Al with questions about some aspect of the plant and I usually got more of an explanation than I bargained for from him.
    Al was more than a professional man, he was a true man in character and poise. Al preached to each us in our circle of friends about how to be the best man you can be. His many axioms where repeated, like “A man is only as good as his word” or “You have to act like a man”. We all looked up to him. He gained my respect and made me a better man too.
    A few us were lucky to visit with Al at Mike Mitchener’s step-daughter’s 16th birthday party. I was privileged to spend a few hours just catching up with Al and Diana on a rich variety of topics. Little did I know at the time, it was the day before he passed. I want to share Al’s last text message to Mike and I, after returning home from the party. The first part of the text message is of our planning to meet at the party. Al’s text is in grey and mine is in green.
    Words cannot begin to express my sorrow for our loss of such a great friend and a great man.

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  7. Al Wagner was a true friend of mine for many years. I had the honor yesterday to be 1 of 6 men that carried him to his final resting place. I also had the honor of speaking at his service. Words cannot express how saddened I, and I’m sure many others are at the loss of this great man. It was nice to see that there was such a great turnout of people at Al’s service, and that so many people thought of him and came out of their love and respect for him. I’m sure Al would give them all one of his great big hugs, and a sincere thank-you. You will be missed my friend The following words were offered for Al yesterday at his service by me. They sum up my feelings for such a great guy.

    I first met Al in the 1980’s when his roommate Mark Swete started working where I was working at Kelly-Moore Paints. I had become friends with Mark, and met Al where they lived, which was at Dry Creek apartments. As soon as I found out that they had moved out to California from Pennsylvania where they were originally from, I knew they had to be good guys. My grandfather had grown up in Pennsylvania, and I knew what kind of man he was. An honest, hard working man of strong character, a real American, and a man I looked up to. I figured if they came from the same place, they must be alright. And time proved my assumption to be true.
    Al was the kind of guy that always had something good to say. He was very wise, very educated, and when he said something serious, he meant it. Al often amazed me with his vast database of knowledge he had accumulated. There were areas where he was an expert, especially in every aspect of water treatment. When he had given me a couple of tours at the treatment plant he was working in at the time, it was clear that he knew what he was talking about. From the processes, to the treatment equipment, down to the science that lied behind it all. And when he spoke about it, he made it sound interesting. His enthusiasm almost made water treatment seem like an art form, with water being the golden product of it all. But water treatment wasn’t the only thing Al had knowledge about. He was well learned about history, geography, science, oh, and don’t forget sports, especially football. If Al wasn’t a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, then there never was one. Al had even achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. And if you know anything about that, you know how much time and effort is involved in achieving that. Yes Al knew a lot about many things, and probably at least a little about most anything else.
    I was lucky enough to not only meet the serious side of Al, I got a chance to know him as he did what was equally as important to Al as his work, and that was enjoying life and having fun. Al could be wild and adventurous. He was curious about things and willing to give new things a try. I think Al wanted to experience as much as he could while he was here. He may not have had a chance to do it all, but what he did, he did it with zeal and compassion. Al was truly a lover of life, and if you really knew Al, you knew this. Al loved to party! I’ve been known to be pretty good at it myself, and I have to say, on a bad day, he gave me a run for my money, and on a good day, he would leave me in the dirt. When we would go camping, we would be up hooting and hollering until the cows came home, or until the ranger came by and told us to pipe if down. Until he drove away of course… And Al loved his music. Mainly country and rock and roll. I never saw this side of Al, but I heard he even liked the opera. That just goes to show how diverse Al could be. I don’t think I”ll ever be able to listen to a Marshall Tucker song again without thinking of Al.
    But besides being wise, even more important was the fact that Al was a true friend to those of us that were fortunate to be his friends. He was always glad to see me. He always made me feel welcome. He was always ready to lend an ear to hear what I had to say. Always there to offer his friendship and console me if he thought I was feeling down. He would gladly give his advice if he was asked for it, and would try to point me in the right direction. And if it was something he didn’t know about, he would try to help figure out where to find the information. I’ll never forget his hearty laugh, his huge smile, and I don’t think anybody that was a friend of Al will ever forget the sincere and heartfelt hugs he gave. I was fortunate enough to get one of those hugs earlier that day on the day that he passed, when he was at my daughters birthday party. I”m going to miss you my friend. As I’m sure all that knew you will. Rest in peace my friend, until we meet again someday.

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