Service Sunday for lifesaving paramedic |

Service Sunday for lifesaving paramedic

A leader out of the gate, Douglas High School Student Body President Bobby Wartgow made front page news in 1981 when he led a walkout in support of Principal Chris Nenzel.

A memorial service is 3 p.m. Sunday for retired East Fork Emergency Medical Services Deputy Chief Robert “Bobby” Dean Wartgow who died on April 3.

The memorial will take place at Valley Christian Fellowship Church, 1681 Lucerne St. in Minden.

Born in Bridgeport, Calif., to Bob and Betty Wartgow the family moved to Gardnerville when he was young.

He attended Gardnerville Elementary School, Carson Valley Middle School, and when he arrived at Douglas High School he was elected student body president for the class of 1981.

On April 3, 1981, armed with a petition including the names of 300 students, Wartgow led hundreds of his schoolmates on a 20-minute walkout in support of Nenzel, who had been reassigned by the district.

The following week, the petition was presented to the Douglas County School Board.

After graduating, Wartgow served as a lifeguard at the Douglas County Swimming Pool in Gardnerville, teaching children how to swim. He was certified as an emergency medical technician before becoming the youngest paramedic in Carson Valley.

In 1984, he saved the life of a 70-year-old Oregon man who was choking on a piece of meat.

Wartgow told R-C reporter Sandi Wright that he plucked a piece of meat from the unconscious man’s throat.

He told Wright that it wasn’t the first time he’d saved someone’s life.

Wartgow responded to a furnace explosion in January 1986 that destroyed a Stephanie Way home and injured eight volunteer firefighters.

The next year, he, Deputy Joe Curtis and Chief Paramedic Don Stangle dived into the Allerman Canal to save trapped toddler Stevie Edmonds. He received national recognition for saving a little boy from freezing under water conditions, risking his own life.

He was named deputy chief of emergency medical services in 2000.

“If I had to introduce Bobby with all the wonderful things he’s done for East Fork, we’d be here for quite a while,” East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said at his badge pinning.

Wartgow retired in 2008 after the state changed the rules for local government workers.

He served on the Gardnerville Town Board in the early 1990s. He was an election worker, who helped residents vote for many years.

Wartgow was also a volunteer for the Douglas County Engine Company.

He is survived by wife of 28 years, Sandy; parents Bob and Betty Wartgow of Twin Falls; sister Kim (Matt O’Brien) of Boise; children Sandy, Kaleb (Amanda), Luke (Gina), Amanda, and Jacob; and grandchildren Mia, Jeptha, and McLane.