Wagner, Elmer Ethan "El"
Rochester, NY: ELMER ETHAN WAGNER ("El"), a true patriot, born in Rochester, New York on Flag Day (June 14), 1922, died peacefully on the original date of the first-observed Memorial Day (May 30), 2014 in Clinton Township, New Jersey, surrounded by his loving family.
Elmer served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II in the European Theatre as a Tactical Reconnaissance P-51 Fighter Pilot, flying more than 40 documented and undocumented missions over occupied France and Germany. He attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant and was awarded the WWII Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon with Five Stars for Air Offensive and the Air Medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters. In addition, Elmer received the Certificate of Recognition from the United States Secretary of Defense and the New York State Governor's Award for Distinguished Military Service. He served as Assistant Operations Officer and Reservist after returning to the US. Elmer was selected for the Veteran of the Year Award in 2009 at the East Rochester Legion Post #1917.
After marrying his sweetheart, Joan Niedermeier in 1946, Elmer attended Paul Smith's College (Associates Degree in Forestry) and the University of Michigan (Bachelors Degree in Forestry and Masters of Science Degree in Wildlife Management). His career with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spanned many decades, until his retirement in 1981, after which he served as volunteer Director and Board member for the Powder Mills Park Fish Hatchery for seven years. Elmer was also a member of several advisory boards including the Monroe County Conservation Council and the Monroe County Water Quality Management Advisory Board, his contributions formally recognized by the Monroe County Executive.
An avid sportsman, Elmer received the Monroe County Sportsman/Conservationist of the Year Award in 1986. He was also a lifelong Amateur Radio enthusiast achieving his Extra Class License (call sign W2BNJ) and volunteering his time during natural emergencies and at the Antique Wireless Museum in Bloomfield, NY. He received a public service award from the American Radio Relay League in 1973 for his outstanding work during the Hurricane Agnes flood disaster. In his continuing dedication to public service, Elmer was a member of the Lions Club and the Masons (highest order).
Elmer is survived by his wife of 67 years, Joan Wagner, his daughter Bonnie Wagner-Westbrook and his son-in-law, John Westbrook. He will be deeply missed by his family and many close friends.
Elmer will be interred at White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford, NY in a private ceremony. Anyone wishing to honor his memory is asked to donate to the East Rochester American Legion Post #1917 or the Antique Wireless Association in Bloomfield, NY. Services are under the direction of Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home in Lebanon, NJ.
Elmer Wagner (left) receives the Veteran of the Year Award by the East Rochester American Legion Post 1917 from his good friend, James Ramph (US Guard).
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on June 8, 2014
Scarponi-Bright Funeral Home
26 Main St. Lebanon, NJ 8833