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COVID-19: Changing Our Lives | March 20: Saying goodbye

As community says goodbye to Mick Wagoner, other families and small businesses try to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Silas Tsang

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March 20, 2020 

Colleagues of the Lucas County man who became the first Ohio COVID-19 death are speaking out on his character and personality. 

The man, 76-year-old Mark Wagoner Sr., worked for decades in family law in Lucas and Fulton County courts - a field  that retired Fulton County Judge Richard B. McQuade calls incredibly difficult from an attorney's perspective because of how emotionally charged divorces can be. But McQuade said Wagoner Sr. could take the emotion out of the job. He summed up the loss of Wagoner in a few short words: "Mickey had extremely high ethics. A real loss for me personally. Always very composed, very kind."

Mick Wagoner Sr. was a competitor at heart. His friend and colleague, Jude Aubry, says Wagoner played running back at Ohio Northern University and would graduate from that school in 1968. In his spare time, he would find himself heavily involved in youth sports outside of his day job. Another attorney, Mark Davis, coached alongside Wagoner at Ottawa Hills Junior High School. Davis said of the head football coach: "He was gruff, very hard-nosed, but he wanted to make sure kids were having fun."

Wagoner raised three boys and one girl on his own, so he developed a fatherly mentorship toward fellow attorneys, especially those new to the field. A friend of his and another fellow attorney, Jack Straub, tells this story: "An attorney was struggling in a court case cross-examining a witness. Mickey, the opposing lawyer, asked the judge for a recess so that he could give valuable insight to the opposing attorney."  

The legal community in northwest Ohio is in mourning. Mark Wagoner Sr. had that big of an impact on those around him.