Matthew A. Wagner

September 11, 1917 - March 6, 2014

Matthew A. WagnerMatthew A. Wagner, born Sept 11, 1917, died peacefully at home on March 6, 2014, surrounded by family. Born in Sterling, CO, to Mathias Wagner and ­Magdelene Boesch, Matt was the 7th of 9 children. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Hazel; his 9 ­children, Jim(Debra), Chuck(Massumi), Barbara, Peggy(Jeff), Carol, Richard(Dixie), Dee Dee, Joe, and Cathy(Scott); his 15 grand children and 12 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by Mary Buck, his only living sibling, and many nieces and nephews.

Matt grew up on a farm. As a junior in high school, his summer job was to transport nitro glycerin to the mines. On his first trip to Oregon, he fell in love with the beauty of the state and convinced his family to move there. He attended Mt. Angel Abbey College where he studied accounting, and then worked in ­Portland where he met Hazel at a church picnic. He joined the Army Air Corp in 1941, was called to active duty before Pearl Harbor, and got his wings as a 2nd Lieutenant. After a 9-month engagement, Matt married Hazel on June 9th, 1942, in California. Three days later, he left to serve his country as fighter pilot in the Aleutian Chain. Matt’s military career spanned 25 years, including three wars, traveling around the world several times, flying everything from propeller planes to fighter jets, bombers, and finally transports. He ­retired in 1966 as a Lt. Colonel, having earned many medals. During those years, nine children were born, three in Germany, and the rest scattered across the US. Back in Oregon and too young to fully retire, Matt tried sales of electronics then real estate, but used his high IQ to complete an associate degree in Computer Science as a programmer. He retired again in 1979 to play more golf, primarily at Willamette Valley Country Club. While living in Lake Oswego, he was very ­involved at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, attaining the rank of 4th ­Degree and State Deputy.

Golf and playing bridge were his favorite past times. He was a strong believer in family, wanting to gather together often at annual picnics, weddings, and holidays. Matt was a creative man, a talented builder, and he could repair or build anything. He enjoyed solving puzzles and using his high IQ to master most anything. His grandchildren remember him as a great “hugger,” and anyone who knew him would agree that he loved life.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, March 22, 2014, at St. Patrick’s Church, Canby, Oregon at 11 am, Rosary at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Canby St. Vincent de Paul.

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