Today marks the 100th birthday of Stanley “Zip” Wagner who spent forty-two summers at Camp Takajo alongside his dear friend, Morty Goldman, who started the camp in 1947. Zip (so named because of his lack of speed on the base paths) was a head counselor in the early days of camp and served in many other capacities through the years, always for the betterment of the camp and with a kindness and gentleness that were an example to us all. Zip was a living embodiment of the camp ideals and exemplified all that is good about the human spirit. Zip’s wife, Evelyn, was at his side during most of those 42 years as the camp’s bookkeeper and unofficial mother hen (or maybe official!). Zip and Evelyn were married for over 70 years and their names are as inseparable now as the two of them were in the life they shared together.
Zip’s career as a teacher and guidance counselor at Baltimore City College spanned several decades. When Zip passed away in 2009, the former mayor of Baltimore and current Dean of the Howard University Law School, Kurt Schmoke, offered these words at the presentation of the first annual Stanley and Evelyn Wagner Scholarship for Baltimore City College students:
No better model of servant leadership can be found than in Stanley Wagner, my high school guidance counselor. Mr. Wagner is one of the great, unsung heroes of the Baltimore Community. He helped nurture countless leaders in many walks of life who worked to improve the quality of life for people in the city and the state. I was a proud beneficiary of his wise counsel.
So, too, generations of our campers and counselors have been proud beneficiaries of Zip’s wise counsel.
Zip and Evelyn’s legacy is intertwined with the history and fabric of Camp Takajo and their memory inspires us to live up to the ideals posted on the Takajo Arch.