Wilmar Tognazzini, longtime local educator and historian, dies

95-year-old was found dead near his home; no criminal activity is suspected

kleslie@thetribunenews.comOctober 20, 2013 

Wilmar Tognazzini and wife Henrietta on their 70th wedding anniversary Dec. 26, 2009, in Morro Bay.

COURTESY PHOTO

Local historian, teacher and one-time Tribune columnist Wilmar Tognazzini, 95, was found dead near his home in rural Morro Bay on Sunday.

Search and rescue teams began looking for Tognazzini on Saturday night, after it was reported he had not been seen since Friday.

Teams found his body about 6 a.m. Sunday, near his home.

The coroner has not yet released an official cause of death, but there was no evidence of criminal activity or suspicious circumstances, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

A community ‘treasure’

Tognazzini, known as “Tog,” served a variety of roles in the community.

Born in Guadalupe in 1918, he worked as a teacher, principal and superintendent of Morro Bay schools from 1944 to 1962 before their unification with San Luis Coastal Unified School District; as owner of San Luis Obispo’s first party-catering business, Tog’s Party Shop, in the 1960s; and as a Hearst Castle guide and supervisor, among other jobs.

Later, Tognazzini worked as a columnist for what was then The Telegram- Tribune, writing a weekly piece called, “100 Years Ago,” which detailed the lives of San Luis Obispo residents between 1888 and 1903, according to a previous Tribune article by fellow columnist Bill Morem.

Copies of Tognazzini’s articles can be found at the San Luis Obispo City-County Library, in a series of 16 bound compilations featuring indexed excerpts from San Luis Obispo newspapers.

Tognazzini, an avid piano player, also made musical appearances at senior citizen events throughout the Central Coast for many years.

In 2000, and again this year, Tognazzini was designated as a Living Treasure by the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce, earning the title for his vast contributions to the community.

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