Richard O. Wagner Sr., 94, of Sandusky, died peacefully Tuesday evening, Jan. 9, 2007, in the Cleveland Clinic, surrounded by his family. His death was because of complications after hip surgery necessitated because of a fall at his 94th birthday party celebration, which was attended by the entire family.
He was born Jan. 6, 1913, in Sandusky. He graduated from Sandusky High School in 1931. After graduation, he worked briefly with his grandfather and father who were commercial fishermen. He went on to begin his career in banking at the Citizens Banking Company in 1931 as a "messenger boy." As Citizens Bank grew, he worked his way up to bookkeeping, teller, cashier, loan officer and executive vice-president and after 50 years was elected president, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the bank. He retired in the early 1990s but remained on the Board of Directors, as director emeritus, until his death.
Mr. Wagner served his country during World War II, in the U.S. Army, as a cryptographer, decoding the enemy's communications. After the war, he returned to Citizens Bank, where he met and married Helen (Riedy) Wagner, his wife of 60 years. To this day, they still lived in the house they both built together some 60 years ago. He loved playing in local tennis and bowling leagues, playing bridge with his family and friends and taking care of his grandchildren.
Richard Wagner was active in the community throughout his life as a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus (3rd & 4th Degree), life member of the American Legion, AMVETS; formerly involved with the Sandusky Economic Development Council, the Erie County Home Builders Association, Sandusky Revolving Loan Fund, Sandusky Tax Abatement Committee; formerly a chairman of the Sandusky Income Tax Review, former director of the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce and the Volunteers of America.
He is survived by his wife, Helen L. (Riedy) Wagner; daughter, Tami (Michael) Murray of Sandusky; sons, Dr. Richard O. Wagner Jr., of Farmington Hills, Mich., Reid (Nancy) Wagner of Santa Barbara, Calif., Gary (Cindy) Wagner and Jude Wagner, both of Sandusky, and Monte (Maddy) Wagner of Middleburg Heights, Ohio; 16 grandchildren, Danielle, Michelle, Michael O., Gabriel, John, Theresa, Christine, Celine, Karlie, Angela, Brett, Brian, Kristen, Joey, Adam and Ben; two great-grandchildren, Reese and Sophia; brothers, Frederick and Charles Wagner; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Frederick and Mayme (Keating) Wagner; first wife, Ruth (Biehl) and his daughter, Carol Wagner, both during World War II; brother, Lester Wagner.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Friday in David F. Koch Funeral Home, 520 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, where a Liturgical service will be at 7 p.m. Prayers will be recited at 9:40 a.m. Saturday in the funeral home, followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. The Rev. Marty Nassr will officiate. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery, Sandusky.
Contributions may be made to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870 or to the Boys Girls Club of Sandusky, 431 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870.