Seth Alan Wagenknecht, 57, of Sedalia, passed away Tuesday, July 30, 2013, at his parent's home in Sedalia after battling the scourge that is cancer for more than two years. His grace, courage and humility during his last two years are his final gift to us.
Seth loved to travel, but his real passion was people. He loved to share stories and to listen to stories – stories from a stranger on an open freight car on a train across America, stories with his childhood friends, and stories shared with patrons at the movie theater that he managed.
No matter the background or the environment, Seth always could make a new friend. He had the unique gift that when you and he were conversing, no matter how many people were in the room, he made you feel you were the only one present – someone special.
Part of that gift for making strangers into friends was his twinkle in his eyes and the smile he shared. You knew he loved life and people. Whether he was riding a motorcycle across America and up Pikes Peak, or hiking the Pacific Crest trail or mentoring the dozens of young employees at the Galaxy Movie Theater in Sedalia, Seth lived in the moment.
He was also incredibly curious. What would it be like to cross the US Border between Mexico by walking across the Rio Grande? Why not take a train behind the Iron Curtain without knowing a single person. A midnight stranger in the Warsaw, Poland train station invited Seth to his parents' home to sleep because the Youth Hostel was closed. They became lifelong friends.
He was born October 17, 1955, in Kansas City, MO, the eldest child of John C. and Margie Ghosen Wagenknecht. Seth was a 1973 graduate of Smith-Cotton High School and earned a Bachelors degree in education from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield where he managed an apartment complex.
He lived in Chicago for four years, where he was a floor commodity trader. In 1989 he moved back to Sedalia to run the State Fair Cinemas. In 1998, Seth built the Galaxy Cinemas, in partnership with his mother Margie and father John, and was the manager until his passing.
Surviving are his parents, John and Margie Wagenknecht, of Sedalia; a sister, Janie Dunn-Rankin, and her husband, David, of Venice, Fla.; a brother, Drew Wagenknecht, of Smithton; and two nieces, Sarah Dunn-Rankin, of Sunnyvale, Cal., and Rachel Dunn-Rankin, of Memphis, Tenn.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Millard and Frances Wagenknecht; and his maternal grandparents, Joe and Mercedes Ghosen.
Seth was a lifelong member of Calvary Episcopal Church where the funeral services will be held, Saturday at 10 a.m., with the Rev. Dr. Carl Siegel and the Rev. Harv Sanders officiating.
Casket bearers will be Chuck Leftwich, Bob Lamberth, Leonard Anderson, Steve Glass, Danny Miller, and Mike Fisher.
Entombment will be in the Memorial Park Cemetery Mausoleum.
The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Heckart Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to Calvary Episcopal Church, Bothwell Foundation Cancer Fund, or the Sedalia School Foundation with a notation that the gift is in memory of Seth Wagenknecht.
Condolences may be offered at www.heckartfuneralhome.com.
Seth, with his love of people and intense curiosity, has passed on to the other side where no doubt, he is sharing stories with his new friends.