Erwin W. Wagner
Great Falls - Erwin Waldemar Wagner, 93, of Great Falls, died of natural causes on 8 January at home surrounded by family.
The graveside service is 11:00 on Thursday, 14 January, in Highland Cemetery. Masks will be required and social distancing practiced. O'Connor Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Survivors include his daughters, Sylvia Murray and Ingrid (Tim) Callahan of Great Falls; two granddaughters, Jennifer (Matt) Zavala of LaQuinta, California, and Stacey Brown of Great Falls; three great-grandchildren, Logan and Nya Zavala and Maddison Brown; and numerous cousins in Germany.
Erwin was born to German parents on April 9, 1927, in Lodz, Poland. He had a wonderful childhood surrounded by loving family. During WWII, his family was displaced to northern Germany, and after the war ended, he studied and worked in Munich as a Dental Technician. He married Martina B. Dietenberger in 1948, and with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Sylvia, emigrated in 1955 to Cut Bank, Montana. Erwin worked as a Dental Technician for Drs. J.D. and R.B. Jones, and after surviving the culture shock from Munich to Cut Bank, they quickly grew to love their new country and became citizens in 1960. By 1966, the family had expanded with two more children, and they moved to Great Falls where Erwin continued his long career, eventually owning his own lab, Big Sky Dental Lab. He and Martina divorced in 1968; however, he remained devoted to his children.
Erwin's best trait was his ability to make and keep friends. Throughout his life, he remained close to his family in Germany, his friends in Cut Bank, and his decades-long friendships in Great Falls. He was an avid outdoorsman, especially hunting, fishing, and snow skiing. In fact, he continued an annual hunting tradition on the Sieben Ranch for 45 years, until he was 91 years old! He also went turkey hunting every year in Missouri with his close friend, Dr. Don Spurgeon. He was very active his whole life, surely a reason for his longevity. Even after his retirement in 1989, he continued working at the C&A Dental Lab part-time.
Erwin was preceded in death by his beloved son, Victor, in 1984, his ex-wife, Martina, in 2006, and his brother, Arno, and parents, Martha and Johann Wagner.
Memorials are suggested to the Great Falls Rescue Mission. Condolences for the family may be shared online at www.OConnorFuneralHome.com