Minden woman who died after falling in Upper Truckee River remembered at celebration of life
During a celebration of her life on Saturday, Stephanie Waggoner was remembered as an overachiever who went the extra mile to help her community.
Waggoner, 49, a local businesswoman, succumbed on June 9 as a result of injuries sustained in a paddleboarding accident on the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe.
Main Street Gardnerville and Project Santa Claus were just two of the community projects Waggoner devoted her time and efforts to helping. She was preparing to head up the Christmas in July toy drive for Project Santa Claus before her accident.
Gary Dove, Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley Project Santa Claus chairman, told the celebration of life audience at Heritage Park that the Christmas in July Toy Drive will now be known as the Stephanie Waggoner Memorial Christmas in July Toy Drive.
“Please support this because you’re helping us remember Stephanie,” Dove said. “Like every member of our team, we’re blessed to have such a team for Project Santa Claus. I know she’s got a lot of volunteers that she brought into the fold and they’re going to be reaching out to continue that legacy.”
John Carne said Waggoner was one of many volunteers who have been instrumental in Project Santa Claus being able to provide Christmas gifts to about 700 Douglas County children each year.
Gardnerville Town Board Chairman Ken Miller said in observation that he knew a number of audience members through Main Street Gardnerville.
“Main Street is a wonderful program, Stephanie gave her heart to it,” Miller said. “I’m on the Town Board, I’m no longer on Main Street Board now, but we all have our turn and Stephanie definitely had her turn. Don’t forget her legacy because it’s memories that keep wonderful people in your mind.”
The Waggoner family — Mark and Stephanie, as well as their four children, Kathryn Waggoner Bailey, Jessica Waggoner, Colton Waggoner and Layne Waggoner — were visible at various youth sporting events and other activities.
Christy Connelly spoke of the times she and her family spent with the Waggoners when they were next door neighbors. Many of those experiences revolved around youth sporting events.
“Some of my best memories of our kids growing up … she gave 100 percent in everything she ever did and she loved her kids with everything she had,” Connelly said. “There wasn’t anything she missed. We all envied Stephanie because she didn’t just come to watch games, she would come to the game with an ice chest, with the watermelon, with the oranges, with the drinks and everything to make sure everyone was taken care of. That’s the Stephanie that I know and love. We’re going to miss her, but I know she’s looking over all of us.”