Obituary: Harvey Wagner
1936 – 03/29/2022
Harvey E. Wagner, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend passed away peacefully on March 9th, 2022 of pancreatic cancer.
Born in 1936 to immigrant parents in Philadelphia and raised in Washington D.C., he showed a precocious talent for mathematics, graduating high school at 15. Harvey received a B.S. in engineering from Lehigh University. He received a master’s degree in Operations Research, the Artificial Intelligence of it’s time, from Carnegie Mellon.
After graduate school Harvey worked at a variety of jobs in his field, earning enough money to start off sailing around the world on a 36-foot trimaran. Those who knew Harvey well were entertained with funny and terrifying stories of that adventure.
In 1968 Harvey founded Teknekron Corporation in Berkeley California, which developed and incubated emerging technologies in computer science. The business model was that of guided entrepreneurship and the company took academic advances from universities successfully to marketplace. His unique ability to understand new technologies combined with his business acumen made Teknekron a pioneer in its field.
In the late 70’s Harvey moved to the Lake Tahoe area. Through his lifetime he supported innovation in technology, education, and the arts. His legacy lives on through an endowed chair at Lehigh University focusing on industrial and systems engineering. He also was a major supporter of the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2018, he endowed
a chair at the University of California at Berkeley focusing on artificial intelligence. Harvey has made a profound difference in the lives of so many individuals with his sage advice and generosity. He was an intensely private person who never wished for accolades or fame.
His true joy in life was his family. Harvey was a devoted husband to his wife Leslie for over 40 years. He also is survived by two adored daughters, Nina and Andrea, and six beloved grandchildren. He was predeceased by his cherished son Charlie. Harvey was a voracious reader and seeker of knowledge. He was a world traveler, a sailor, an expert skier, chess player and ballroom dancer. His generous spirit, dry humor, and quick wit will be missed by all who knew him. A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.
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