John R. Wagner
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John R. Wagner

WAGNER: John R. Wagner passed away on Jan. 17, 2024. He was born in his grandmother’s home on Oct. 19, 1929, in Mutual, Pennsylvania, the youngest child of Harry G.E. and Mary (Gecelosky) Wagner. After graduating Greensburg High School 1948, he attended Grove City College, graduating in 1950 with a B.S. in German and mathematics. He obtained a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in education. He served in the U.S. Army as a Hungarian language translator in the European theater during the Korean War, 1953-1956. He began his career as a math teacher at Munhall High School and then Baldwin High School. He then became a math teacher and assistant track coach at Mt. Lebanon High School. He went on to become the principal of Mellon Junior High School for 26 years, retiring in 1993. His devotion to education contributed to Mellon Junior High School winning a National School of Excellence award in 1990. Throughout his life, John enjoyed many hobbies including woodworking, playing bridge, solving crosswords and all types of puzzles, and doing all manner of home repairs for himself and other family members. He was a deep thinker about politics and the Constitution and had many ideas about how to solve the country’s problems. John described himself as a “people person” and greatly enjoyed his friends, including his dear friends in his condominium and at the weekly JCC political discussion group, with whom he liked to “stir the pot.” He was an enthusiastic sports fan, an avid reader and a great conversationalist. He enjoyed a good joke and told many. Most of all, he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and he was beloved by his family. He frequently reminded us of these two secrets to life: always keep your sense of humor and everything in moderation, except love — love in excess! In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother Harry Wagner, his first wife of 26 years, Barbara L. Wagner, his daughter Debra Ann (Wagner) Mirt, and his second wife of 24 years, Arlene Serbin Wagner. He is survived by his son, Robert J. Wagner (Leslie Brown Wagner), his son in-law, Joseph “Jimmie” Mirt , and his step-son Richard Lesser (Gabrielle Lesser) and step-daughter Susan Carey (John Carey). He is further survived by eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, his niece and cousins. The family extends our sincere gratitude to his primary care doctor, Dr. Lyn Weinberg, and AHN hospice team. Per his wishes, a celebration of life will be held at a future time. To honor John’s memory, donations may be made to the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. schugar.com PJC

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