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Joseph E. Wagner, age 93, of Eureka, Illinois, passed away at The Loft Nursing Home in Eureka on August 20, 2023 at approximately 1:30 a.m.
As per Joe’s wishes, his body was cremated. Services are scheduled to be a Funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2023 at Holy Family Catholic Church, with burial to follow in the Mount Sterling Catholic Cemetery. Hendricker Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. At Joe’s request, please make all memorials to St. Mary School at 408 West Washington Street, Mount Sterling, Illinois 62353.
He was preceded in death by his parents, infant brother Francis Edward and his sister Mary Irene (Wagner) Kleinlein. Surviving are his brother John (Jilleen) Wagner of Normal, Illinois. Also there are six nephews: Robert Kleinlein, William (Jane) Kleinlein and Timothy (Nan) Kleinlein; also Edward (Beth) Wagner, Dr. Steven (Ellyn) Wagner and Dr. Robert Wagner. There are six great-nephews/nieces: Christopher, Jessica, Matthew, Emily and Andrew Kleinlein and Joseph Steven Wagner.
Joseph was born at home in Mount Sterling, Illinois, on May 26, 1930, a son of Emil E. and Julia Lorinne (Langan) Wagner. He attended St. Mary Academy for both grade and high school, then worked at the Democrat Message from 1948 to 1951, when he was drafted into the United States Army, serving in Korea with the 430th Engineering Construction Battalion. In Korea one of his duties was wiring prison compounds for the North Korean prisoners. Joe once told us a funny story of the North Korean prisoner who came up to him with a stick and, in the dust, wrote the Quadratic Formula ax² + bx + c = 0. The prisoner was taken aback when Joe took the stick and scratched the answer in the dust. For his service, Joe received the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Citation National Defense Service Medal, and 3 bronze stars. After again working at the Democrat Message from 1953 to 1954, he attended Tri-State College (now University) in Angola, Indiana, and received his Electrical Engineering Degree. He then worked at McDonnell (now McDonnell-Douglas) Aircraft in St. Louis, Missouri in the Missile Engineering Division working on guided missile guidance systems. He then went on to get his M. S. Degree in Mathematics at Michigan State University in 1962. After that he taught mathematics at the University of Dayton in Ohio, and at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He served as a part-time teaching assistant while he was a student at Michigan State University and at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
He then worked at Barber-Colman Company in Rockford, Illinois and at ITT North Electric in Des Plaines, Illinois, retiring from LaMarche Manufacturing Company of Des Plaines in 2001, where he designed printed circuit boards for various industrial applications. After retirement he moved to Springfield, Illinois. His last move was to The Loft in Eureka three years ago, during the Covid Pandemic.
Joe was a kind and gentle man, beloved by his family, co-workers and friends. He will especially be remembered for his kindness and generosity to his nephews, great-nephews and great-nieces.
St. Mary School
408 West Washington street, Mt. Sterling IL 62353