Daniel Wagaman

June 3, 1977 - June 25, 2024

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Daniel Wagaman was the most gentle, kind, intelligent and wickedly funny person most of us have ever known or will ever know. He was a friend to anyone and everyone who needed one, a born helper and fixer. He often ran out of the house at any hour of the day or night to help a neighbor with an issue, rescue friends from surprise home-ownership predicaments, help neighborhood organizations plant trees to beautify our city, drive out to the suburbs to help a fellow ham radio club member hang an antenna, or pack a quick bag to drive from Philly to Lancaster to help his dad with any project large or small. For 22 years he worked side-by-side with his wife, Lisa Benigni, fixing the cars, apartments and houses they rented or owned together. He taught Lisa how to take care of her car, how to use power tools, safely re-wire outlets, properly measure and pre-plan tiling projects, how to take care of tools and appliances, and thousands of other useful things. But mostly Lisa credits Daniel with teaching her how to slow down – to not power through every moment as a task, a box to check in the most efficient way possible – but to slow down and enjoy every moment for what it was. Daniel and Lisa were often mistaken for newly weds by strangers, as their apparent affection, friendship, and admiration of each other was hard to miss. He started almost every morning with a song – usually a classic top 40 song from the 20th Century, but with his own off-the-cuff clever lyrics spontaneously inserting the names of his wife, their dogs, and shared jokes, of which they had many. He sang every day, always bubbling over with humor, whimsy, creativity and cleverness that never ceased to leave his wife and everyone who knew him in awe, while also laughing. He was a renaissance man, fascinated with hand tools, guitar making, song writing, sewing, repairing antique tools and machines, cycling, camping, and fishing. He was a talented and thoughtful writer of funny poems, inclusive and interesting club newsletters, inspiring and beautiful songs, and thoughtful humorous letters. He was a passionate conservationist, becoming a Philly Tree Tender and donating to state and national parks. A talented wood worker, he made exquisite pieces of furniture, cutting boards, children’s toys, and much more for everyone he loved. Daniel spent many hours in his own wood shop in Philadelphia, but his most treasured moments were spent working with his father, Tom Wagaman, in Tom’s wood shop in Lititz. Daniel (W4GMN) became a ham radio enthusiast and joined the Phil-Mont Mobile Radio Club, in which time he quickly became the editor of the Club Newsletter, the Blurb. You can read his notes from the editor in monthly newsletters here (, beginning in May 2021. Every interest he adopted, he dove into with his characteristic deep academic fervor. He was humble and shrugged off his many interests and talents as mere hobbies, but he filled his life with chasing knowledge of everything that piqued his interest, then sharing it openly with anyone who could benefit from what he learned. Everyone who ever met Daniel or had the pleasure of being his friend has the same things to say about him. His sense of humor and generosity of spirit characterize all of his interactions with everyone who knew him. His humor was dark, clever, silly, and smart – one could always find Daniel at a party by following the sound of laughter. Strong, tall, gentle, and openly vulnerable and trusting, he was the best friend anyone could ever have. The core of Daniel was caring for the Earth, animals, and people around him and putting them first. No one has ever been more deserving of the adoration and gratitude he inspired in all of us. No service will be held, and Daniel’s wish to be composted at a facility in Washington state has been fulfilled, so that he could continue to give back to the Earth as he always did in life. In lieu of a memorial or donations, please visit to view photos, hear his music, watch the video from his Celebration of Life event, and find out more about the Phil-Mont Mobile Radio Club.


Leave the earth with beauty

Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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