William 'Bill' Sagar, aged 96, became a part of Fairfax history the moment he picked up a pen to begin recording it. His dedication to preserving the town history will keep us busy for years, sorting through papers and trying to even begin to understand all that he remembered at the drop of a hat. He, and his wealth of information, will be sorely missed. Bill passed away on December 10.
Bill was born to George and Delina Sagar in Portland Oregon in 1922. He met his childhood friend and future bride, Alice, across the street. He worked for many childhood summers in the family pharmacy. After graduating from high school he trained to work on aircraft which he did during the war, as well as serving in the Navy shore side, and at discharge he returned to Portland to marry his childhood sweetheart.
After studying architecture on the GI Bill, and thinking he would head back to Arizona where he had worked on planes during the war, he and Alice stopped in Mill Valley to visit his aunt. Within days he had secured a job in San Francisco, they purchased a small cottage in Fairfax, and their life plan was set. Bill worked for 32 years before starting his second career as a historian.
In 1988 the Fairfax Historical Society was formed, with Bill and Alice as founding members. Bill enjoyed working with his friend Bill Allen, who hand wrote the information that Bill and Alice typed. Their spare room began to fill with binders of stories, photos and memorabilia. Bill put out over one hundred bulletins over the 30 years he was editor of the FHS newsletter, as well as writing a book of Fairfax History with his son Brian. Today we have an excellent collection of the earliest years of Fairfax up through the 1950s due to his continued dedication. We hope to continue in Bill's fine footsteps, to preserve and share his passion of our local history.
Bill also enjoyed researching Marin County historical silent film production, enjoyed antique cars, local railroad history, and preserving his family history.
Bill is survived by his sons Kerry Sagar and Brian (Sharon) Sagar, grandchildren Kevin Sagar and Lauren (Adem) Zieff, and great-granddaughter Ava, as well as many other family and friends. He was predeceased by his wife Alice in 1999, as well as his brothers Paul and Charles. Services will be private.
Those who desire may make memorial donations in Bill's memory to the Fairfax Historical Society P.O. Box 774 Fairfax, CA 94978 or an organization of the donor's choice.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I first met Bill Sagar in 2001, within months of assuming my post at the Anne T. Kent California Room. He immediately made me feel welcome and regularly shared his knowledge and his engaging & meticulously indexed compilations on Marin County history.
His expertise on the silent film era in Marin- in particular the history of the California Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC)- ignited my own passion for that subject. In 2008, we partnered to screen the silent film "Salomy Jane" at the Rafael Theater for the first time since its debut in 1914. The publicity garnered from that screening prompted the donation of a large archive of CMPC source materials which had once belonged to CMPC Director, George Middleton. That was one of several "history" adventures I had the great honor to share with Bill.
Bill was kind, generous and one of the best researchers I've had the pleasure to work with. The Anne T. Kent California Room archive is richer for his many contributions. I am richer for having known him. Marin County has lost a great historian and I, a great mentor and friend. - Laurie Thompson