Wallace “Wally” Spencer Wagner passed away peacefully, June 10. He was 85.
Mr. Wagner was born May 7, 1922, in Wayne, Mich. His childhood years were spent in Detroit and he raised his family in Livonia and Farmington, Mich.
Lt. Wallace S. Wagner served his country passionately as a United States Air Force pilot, flying 52 missions in World War II. He flew a B-24 Martin Marauder, nicknamed “The Widow Maker.” His final mission ended in a horrific plane crash, Sept. 11, 1944. Although the chaplain gave him his last rites he would not hear of dying because his son was born that day. After a long recovery, his spirit pushed forth to live a long and full life. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the European-Theatre Campaign Medal, three Bronze Star Medals, the World War II Victory Medal and various distinguished service and achievement awards.
After the war, Mr. Wagner worked for the Gas Co. and put himself through night school in order to begin his career as a General Motors automotive designer. Over the years, he earned two patents.
Mr. Wagner retired to Florida, where he enjoyed golfing, fishing, bowling and a couple of cold beers. He loved being with his family and friends. He had an easy-going, fun personality and a remarkable ability to make others laugh. He turned many heads on the dance floor and was dancing well into his 80s. He was always singing and, to his daughter’s amazement, could remember all the lyrics to old, favorite songs. He spent most of his last seven and a half years of his life on a small farm in Penn Valley, with his daughter and her husband.
Mr. Wagner was a loving husband and father and a devoted brother and son and a great friend to many. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Patricia Ann Turowski and Joseph Terry Turowski; sister, Jean Marie Gray, of Florida; brother (best friend) and sister in-law, James and Joyce Wagner, of Dearborn Heights, Mich.; sister-in-law, Edna Mills, of Michigan and Florida; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 57 years, an “Irish Lass,” Margaret “Peggy” Jean Gracey, born in Belfast, Ireland; and son, Gary Spencer Wagner.
His family, friends and dog, Sophie, will miss him terribly but will always treasure his invincible spirit. No mater what befell him he would always go forward with a smile. He knew how precious life was and not to waste a moment on bemoaning life’s challenging situations.
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