ERNEST "ERNIE" WAGNER, 93
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LAKELAND - Mr. Ernest "Ernie" Wagner, 93, passed away on July 1st of natural causes. He was born in Mankato, Minnesota, on August 6, 1919. As a youth, his family moved to several rural locations in southwestern Missouri, and later to Hermann, Mo. He graduated from Granby Missouri High School in 1937.
Mr. Wagner was one of nine children of the late Nicholas and Margaret (Klein) Wagner. He was preceded in death by his parents and 4 brothers, John, Edward, Herbert, Louis and 2 sisters Mary and Dorothy. Surviving are 1 brother Victor and 1 sister Laura, also his wife, Marjorie, 2 sons David and wife Janet, James "Jim" and wife Robin, and 2 grandsons Bryan and Corey Wagner.
In 1942 he volunteered in the Service of his country in the Navy Construction Battalion (Seabees). He served with the 45th Battalion in Kodiak, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. After a leave he was assigned to the 62nd Battalion which trained with the Marines in Maui, Hawaii, and his Battalion was with them in the invasion of Iwo Jima. He was on the island when the famous flag rising picture was taken on Mt. Suribachi. All 6 of the Wagner brothers were in World War II in various branches. After his honorable discharge from the service at St. Louis, Mo. he remained there where he enrolled in a Trades School under the G.I. Bill. He had always been interested in woodworking and was employed by one of the Custom Cabinet Making shops in St. Louis.
It was in St. Louis where he met his future wife, Marjorie "Marge". After a trip to Florida they decided that is where they would like to live and moved to Tampa, Fl. where he was employed at Mayworth Custom Woodworking until he retired. Their 2 sons were born and raised in Tampa. The Wagners were members of Most Holy Redeemer Church where Mrs. Wagner was head organist and Ernie was an usher and Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troup 77 sponsored by the church. He was also a charter member of the Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-11 (NSVA) where he served 2 terms as Commander and 2 terms as Vice Commander of the Department of Florida.
In Tampa he enjoyed his boat and fishing in Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico with his family.
After retiring in Tampa he and his wife moved to Foxwood Lake Estates in Lakeland. He transferred his Seabee membership from Tampa to Lakeland and became a member of Island X-2, where he served 2 terms as Commander, and 2 more terms as Vice Commander of the Dept. of Florida. They also changed their membership to St. Anthony Catholic Church in Lakeland. He continued his love of woodworking in his own shop by making many of the furnishings of his home and the homes of his family, including entertainment units, computer desks, and grandfather clocks. He contributed much of his skill to Foxwood Lake Estates, his home of over 27 years.
In his later years he devoted much of his time to the art of wood carving. He was a member of the Foxwood Woodcarvers, and also the Ridge Wood Carvers Club of Lakeland. He loved to read and was a big sports fan, particularly of the Florida Gators and the Tampa Bay Rays.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anthony Catholic Church on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 8:30 am. Internment will take place at Sarasota National Cemetery on Wednesday.
Memorials of Remembrance can be made to the Navy Seabees Scholarship Fund or Good Shepherd Hospice.
Published in Ledger from July 7 to July 8, 2013