GRACE WAGNER TORKELSON Grace Wagner Torkelson of Wilmington, N.C. died peacefully June 3, 2013 at Liberty Commons Rehabilitation Center after a brief illness. Mrs. Torkelson, who was just shy of her 91st birthday, was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 17, 1921 to Grace MacMullen Wagner and Alfred B. Wagner. She was predeceased by her parents, a brother, Alfred B. Wagner, Jr. and sister, Dorothy Wagner Holland. Mrs. Torkelson graduated from Morristown High School, Morristown, N.J. and was employed by Bell Laboratories at the West Street headquarters until she joined the U. S. Naval Reserves as a WAVE in October, 1942. She spent two years on active duty, as Apprentice Seaman and Seaman Second Class. After completing specialized training at the Naval Training School at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, Mrs. Torkelson taught Morse Code at the Naval Aviation Technical Training Center in Memphis, Tennessee as Radioman Third Class. She received an honorable discharge in October, 1945 and returned to her work at Bell Laboratories in New York City. There she met her husband of 40 years, Elmer C. Torkelson, whom she married in 1948. After retiring from careers at Bell Laboratories, the Torkelsons moved to Wilmington, N.C. in 1968. They were avid boaters and active members of the local Power Squadron for many years. Mr. Torkelson died in 1988. Mrs. Torkelson was a talented painter, winning several awards for her oil paintings in area shows. She was a long-standing, devoted member of St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church. She is survived by a sister-in-law, Jenny Wagner, in California and two nieces, Carmen Pedota, of Florida, and Nancy Holland, of Maryland. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. Interment will be at Greenlawn Memorial Park. Donations in memory of Mrs. Torkelson may be sent to St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Wilmington.
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Published in the Wilmington Star-News from June 6 to June 11, 2013