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Bill Waggoner, pioneer summer camp owner, dies at age 86

William Howard "Bill" Waggoner, one of the early summer camp owners in Henderson County and the longest serving member of the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club, died Sunday at Four Seasons Elizabeth House after a battle with cancer. He was 86.

A native of Decatur, Illinois, he was the son of the late Col. Parke H. and Eva Swan Waggoner of Hendersonville. After graduating from Decatur High School, he served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a 1950 graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

He worked in the corporate office of Hotpoint Inc. in Chicago before moving to Hendersonville. He and his wife, Joanne Hafner Waggoner, who preceded him in death, in 1997, owned and operated the Southwind Motel in Hendersonville while they were building Camp Windy Wood, a children's camp on Lake Summit in Tuxedo. They opened the camp in 1957, and continued serving as directors until retiring in 1986. They continued to make the camp property their home until Jo's death. The camp property continues to be the home of several members of the family.

He was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Hendersonville, where he served as a Deacon, Elder and Treasurer of the Sunday School for 21 years. He was a 59-year member of the Hendersonville Kiwanis Club having served on the Board of Directors and was a George T. Hixon Fellow. He was a retired member of the Henderson County Rescue Squad, and served on the Board of the Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth and Families. He was presented the "Pioneer of Camping" recognition in 1996 and served as the Executive Secretary of the Southeastern Section of the American Camping Association for over 20 years.

He was a member of the Hendersonville Country Club and the Beacon Club, and served on the boards of the local American Red Cross as well as the YMCA. Along with his wife, Jo, he was on the founding committee of the Green River Branch of the Henderson County Library, and volunteered there for several years.

He is survived by his wife, Sandra Edwards Waggoner; his son, Steven Waggoner; daughters, Wendy Henderson, Melinda Bryant, Karen Saine, Pati Waggoner-Myers; stepdaughters, Betsy Edwards, Susan Sangiolo, Leslie Coker and Ashley Thompson; nineteen grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

During his active lifetime he had a love of nature and the outdoors, travel, enjoyed hunting and fishing and had a keen interest in both local and Southwestern archaeology.

A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, at Hendersonville First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Dr. Bill Campbell, Reverend H. Alexander Viola, and Reverend Dwayne Durham officiating. The family will receive friends at the church following the service in the Fellowship Hall. A private internment service will be held at Shepherd Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families, 80 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711 or Four Seasons Compassion for Life, 571 South Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

A register book is available online for family and friends by visiting

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.