Nora M. Wagener, age 85, of Faribault, died on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at the 9th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City, IA surrounded by her family.
Funeral services will be at First English Lutheran Church, Faribault, on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. with the Reverend Richard L. Jorgensen officiating. Interment will be at the Meadow Ridge Memorial Park, Faribault.
Visitation will be at the Boldt Funeral Home on Tuesday, December 22nd from 3 to 7 p.m. and also at the church on Wednesday for one hour prior to the service.
Nora Mae, daughter of Martha (Langeness) and Arthur Means, was born on May 9, 1924 in Los Angeles, CA. After a move to Minnesota, she attended elementary school in both Kenyon and Rochester, Nora then moved to Minneapolis, where she graduated from Central High School. She attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and completed a teaching degree, graduating cum laude in 1946. Following college, she taught for two years in Sleepy Eye, MN.
Nora was united in marriage to Harold E. Wagener on July 17, 1948 at the Holden Lutheran Church in rural Kenyon. After their marriage, they resided in Preston, IA and Nora taught in Miles, IA, a short distance away. Harold and Nora returned to the family farm in Wheeling Township east of Faribault in 1950. Daughter Janice was born in 1952, followed by Diane in 1954. Nora devoted her time to raising her girls, helping Harold on the farm, and substitute teaching until 1963 when she accepted a teaching position at Bethlehem Academy in Faribault. She was an educator there until her retirement in 1976. She was active in the school theatre productions, the school proms, and was an avid sports fan, cheering on her students at every opportunity. Nora’s greatest passions were her family, her vast circle of friends, her beloved students, travel, and her love of writing.
Nora was an avid contributor to her community. She was an active member of First English Lutheran Church serving on the Church Council, was involved in the women’s Circle group, and was a frequent lector for Sunday services. She was a 4-H leader, a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society, the Faribault Kiwanis Club, and a rural ladies’ extension group. She also volunteered for the Red Cross and the Clothes Closet.
She is survived by two daughters, Janice (Leon) Mulford of Charles City, IA and Diane (Steve) Wagener of Albany, OR; 2 grandchildren, Sarah Mulford of Owatonna, MN and Daniel Mulford (Amy) of Des Moines, IA; 3 step-grandchildren, Sarah and Jeremy Wagener of Portland, OR, and Loren Wagener of San Diego, CA; a great-grandson Dylan James of Des Moines, IA; a sister-in-law Marjorie (Wagener) and husband Paul Norgaard of Elk Grove, CA, and sisters-in law Anita Wagener of Faribault, MN, Betty Wagener of Albany, OR, and Loretta Wagener of St. Cloud, MN.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Harold, Mother, Martha Sonnesyn, brothers-in-law Robert of Faribault, Harvey of St. Cloud, and Loren of Albany, OR.
Memorials may be directed to First English Lutheran Church or Bethlehem Academy.
I have wonderful memories of Mrs.Wagner, my english teacher @ B.A. First of all she was always beautifully dressed. Very professional and neat as a pin. She made learning fun and in turn I got good grades. She was one of the best teachers I have ever had. And I will never forget her. I was blessed to have had her. She made the world a better place to live in. We have lost a great lady. My prayers and sympathy to the family. God Bless, Shirley Perron-Southworth
Mrs. Wagner was my English teacher at BA and it was obvious she cared deeply for her students. I was one of those students who worked very hard in the sports I played, but I have to admit I tended to coast in the classroom. She wrote a comment on one of those papers I half heartedly did which stuck to me to this very day. She said "Put the same effort that you put into sports in all phases of your life and you will always be a success." I saw her years later on one of my trips to Faribault and told her how her comments stuck with me. I think she surprised I would remember that comment. My deepest sympathy to the Wagner family for your loss, and thank you Mrs. Wagner for taking the time to care for us.