Washougal man dies in accidental drowning

John Wagoner was an avid boater

A local man whose body was discovered Wednesday in the Columbia River in Washougal died of accidental drowning.

According to Washougal Police Department Det. Kate Tierney and the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office, John Wagoner, 68, was reported missing by friends and family late on Nov. 25, when he failed to show up to an event.

According to reports, on Nov. 24 a friend had dropped Wagoner off near the Port of Camas-Washougal, where he lived on a boat.

Tierney said the WPD began investigating on Nov. 26.

Later that morning, friends of Wagoner’s patrolling the area discovered his body in the water at the C-W Port marina. A Multnomah County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office dive team recovered his body close to noontime, Tierney said.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed this morning that Wagoner died of accidental drowning.

Tierney said there is no criminal investigation.

Wagoner, and avid boater, was featured in the Post-Record in August in an article titled “Sentimental Sailor.”

He had sailed waters located around the world, and said he experienced many memorable adventures along the way.

“That’s the quality of life I feel so lucky to experience,” he said at the time. “It’s so relaxing. You’re on heightened alert. You’re overcoming challenges, dealing with a story, slicing through the waves. All of these experiences were done with friends.”

Wagoner grew up in the Fern Prairie area and graduated from Camas High School. He was a member of the Sea Scouts and served in the Army Reserves. Wagoner worked at the Camas paper mill 35 years until his retirement in 2001.

Many of his boating trips were taken with or to visit friends.

“I’m living a life that I could never have made up in ’64,” he said in the Post-Record article. “Material things could be gone tomorrow. Friends I’ve known for decades — close personal friends — are far more important. I’m lucky.”

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the AWPPW Local 5 union hall, 514 N.E. Dallas St., Camas.

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