Mary Gallagher Wagner

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  • "I have fond memories of Mary while helping with Amy. Mary..."
    - Rose Watkins
  • "Mary was my godmother, my special aunt and the most loving..."
    - Kerry Kearney
  • "For a truly loving Aunt and person. Peace be with you,..."
    - Charles Ingrasci
  • "Mary Gallagher Wagner R.I.P., and we thank God for the you,..."
    - Carl and Colleen Kelly
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Mary Gallagher Wagner, 85, Dunmore, died on Sunday morning, January 6, 2013, at Hospice Community Care under the care of Hospice of the Sacred Heart. She was the widow of Dr. Louis Wagner, who died on September 28, 1996.

Daughter of the late Michael and Bridget Peyton Gallagher, she was born in Scranton. She was a graduate of Scranton Central High School and attended the Powell School of Business. She was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish and had formerly been a member of Christ the King Parish, Dunmore.

Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Wagner worked for 22 years in radio, television and motion pictures in Hollywood and New York City. She first worked as the secretary to her uncle, Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., who launched a national radio program, Family Theater. Family Theater produced weekly original radio shows with inspirational content. The award-winning radio program made famous Fr. Peyton's slogan: "The family that prays together stays together."

In Hollywood, she later worked for Columbia Pictures and Music Corporation of America, a talent agency. She moved to New York City to work for many years in television broadcast development at NBC in Rockefeller Center. She retired as executive secretary to the president of NBC in 1969.

In that year, she married Dr. Wagner, a general and thoracic surgeon, and adopted his three young children. The Wagner family lived in New City, New York, and later in Franklin, Pa. The family moved to Dunmore in 1991, after Dr. Wagner retired.

Parents of a disabled daughter, Dr. and Mrs. Wagner established a therapeutic riding program, Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped, which continues to operate today in Franklin, Pa., from the Wagner Therapeutic Center, named for the couple.

Mrs. Wagner is survived by her handicapped daughter, Amy of Scranton; two sisters, Catherine Jablonski, Dunmore; and Patricia Ingrasci, Scranton; nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She was a devoted wife, mother, sister and friend, a fervent and faithful Catholic who prayed the Rosary daily. She possessed a sweet and loving demeanor, was soft-spoken and patient. She was an extraordinary animal lover. At one time, she was the "mother" of 5 horses, 7 dogs, 3 cats, a parrot and 2 goats, in addition to her human children. She loved Notre Dame and Steelers football and was a voracious reader.

In addition to her husband and parents, Mrs. Wagner was preceded in death by her daughter, Kit; son, Richard; her uncle, Servant of God, Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., a candidate for sainthood; her brothers, Msgr. John P. Gallagher, Ph.D., of the Scranton Diocese; and Robert Gallagher; her sister, Margaret Miller.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday January 12, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 800 Taylor Ave., Scranton. Visitation will be at the church starting at 9 a.m. on the day of the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, prayers are requested. Offerings to St Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Scranton; Immaculate Conception Church, or a are suggested.

Burial at Cathedral Cemetery will follow the Mass.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Vanston and James Funeral Home, Scranton. To send the family an online condolence, please visit
Published in Scranton Times from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2013