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Editor's Note | Toni DeRosa - Aug. 8, 2019

R.I.P. John Wooner

I was lucky to meet John Wooner in 2005-06 when he worked for the City of Wasco.

What I remember about him was his great personality, warm, friendly smile and easy manner. He was so nice to me when I began working at the Wasco Tribune in 2005.

Why does his death hit me so? It’s because when I worked in Arvin and Lamont for over eight years, I would drive on Comanche Road and see a Wooner Street at least several times a day. I always reflected back on the guy I met for a brief while in Wasco and wondered how he was doing.

I learned what happened to Wooner when he was reported missing. I thought it can’t be the same guy. But, sadly, it was and that was confirmed when I was in Wasco at a meeting and people I know were talking about how he was to work with. Everyone spoke very highly of him.

The last time I saw Wooner, he was leaving the city to work for a water district. To know that he was the city manager of McFarland was a pleasant surprise until I heard he was missing.

When the sheriff’s office discovered a van underneath the water in the Kern River, my first thought was “could that be John’s?”

Sadly, any hopes of Wooner showing up somewhere ended once the coroner’s office identified the body in the submerged van as Wooner’s.

In looking up the weather for June 14, 2019, the temperature high was 96 degrees and the low was 70. Maybe Wooner wanted to take a nice drive through the canyon to appreciate the beautiful day. Sadly, no one will ever know what was going through his mind.

What we do know is that detour took his life.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wooner family, friends and former colleagues that will miss his presence.

Unfortunately, life is fleeting, as we all know. One minute you’re here, and the next you could be gone.

It’s a great time to take notice of all the positive things in your life and to notice those around you. They may be gone in a second.

Toni DeRosa is editor of the Wasco Tribune. The opnions expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper or its management.


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