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John L. Wagner

John Lewis Wagner, 91, of Sebring, Florida, and a long-time resident of Battle Creek, Michigan, passed away Friday, June 26, 2020.

John had a zest for life and service to others. He was born Jan. 18, 1929, in Effort, Pennsylvania as the son of Edward and Helen (Weiss) Wagner. He graduated from Stroudsburg High School in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania in May of 1948 and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950 to 1954. John owned a Battle Creek area construction company for 36 years and retired in 1990. He lived a life of service — as a charter member of the Lakeview Lions Club, Life Member of the Knights of Columbus, member of the American Legion, a VFW member, a member of the Sebring Breakfast Lions Club and a volunteer at the Sebring Heartland Hospital during his retired years.

John was also a former member of St. Jerome Catholic Church and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Battle Creek, St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Augusta and an active participant in St. Philip Catholic Central boosters and fundraisers.

On Nov. 14, 1953, John married his Air Force sweetheart, Sarah Ellen (Simmons) Wagner, who survives. Also surviving are three children, Kathleen Ann (Ken) Hiebel of Jenison, Karen Lucile (Kevin) Arnold of Caledonia and John William (Jennifer) Wagner of Alexandria, Virginia; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; two sisters, Pauline Rufe of New Jersey and Kathryn Powell of California; one brother, Elton Wagner of Florida; and many loving nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Marie Cracolici, and his brother, Robert, who died in combat during World War II.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a private family viewing will be held at Richard A. Henry Funeral Home ( on Friday, July 3, 2020, and immediately followed by interment at the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan. The family will hold a larger friend and family celebration of John’s life at a later date when possible.

Memorial contributions are encouraged in memory of John L. Wagner to the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research at