George Henry Wagner

Wagner, George Henry
82, of Surprise, Arizona, passed away in the comfort of his home on October 23, 2013 due to a recent illness. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Jo Ann (Southworth). George was born November 3, 1930 in Dickinson, North Dakota, to Frank and Elizabeth (Boehm) Wagner, the ninth of fifteen children. The family later moved to Laurel, Montana where he finished high school. From 1951-1955, he served in the Navy during the Korean War as a Storekeeper aboard the USS Elkhorn. George returned to Laurel, married Jo Ann in 1955, and raised three sons. After a lifelong career at the Cenex Refinery in Laurel, George and Jo Ann retired to Surprise, Arizona in 1998. George enjoyed many summers with his family hiking and fishing in the nearby Beartooth Mountain Range. In his high school years, George was regarded as a terrific and competitive athlete, excelling in football and baseball. He continued his love of sports by later refereeing high school basketball. In retirement, George tried his luck at golf, and while he didn't embrace the digital age of computers and smartphones, he enjoyed playing the slot machines - never hitting the "big one". He was an avid armchair sports fan enjoying all sporting events day or night. George was extremely dedicated to his work and stubbornly passionate about his beliefs. Although George adhered to a thrifty lifestyle, he was always honored, and considered it a distinct privilege to provide support to any family member in times of need. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Jo Ann Wagner; siblings Eddie, Caroline, Clara "Penny" Scott, Kay Scribner, Cody Jones, Leo "Sparky", Virginia Sorensen, and twins who died at birth. He is survived by three sons; Mark Wagner of Cut Bank, MT, Paul Wagner and Laura Jensen of Bothell, WA, and Bryon and Janet Wagner of Elk Grove, CA; brother James (Eleanore) Wagner of Parker, CO; sisters Lorraine Miller of Melbourne, FL, Martha Wagner, Angie Rolison, and Rita (Bob) Ryder all of Laurel, MT; brothers-in-law Vern (Shirlee) and Charles Southworth of Phoenix, AZ; sister-in-law Edna Mae Wold of Frederick, MD; grandchildren Bryanna Wagner of Elk Grove, CA, Ashley Wagner of Cheyenne, WY, and Nina Wagner of Bothell, WA; and many nieces and nephews. The family suggests memorials be made to The .

Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 17, 2013