Paul Raymond Wagner, 89, of Hays, Kansas, passed away peacefully surrounded by his children on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at Hays Medical Center. Born in Washington County, Colorado, on July 16, 1925, to Morris and Eva (Andersen) Wagner, he lived most of his life in South Dakota, Indiana and Kansas.
Paul was a man of faith and believed in God's plan for his life. He was a retired Church of God minister, having graduated from Anderson College, Anderson, Ind., in 1951. In 1956, Paul received a Master of Divinity from the School of Theology, Anderson College.
Paul often was described as a kind and gentle soul, whose quiet determination fueled an inner strength. It allowed him to follow God's direction while serving more than five decades as a minister and raising his family. Paul always tried to see the best in other people. Usually the mediator and occasionally a contradiction, Paul was an intellectual who could read Hebrew, yet used the 1970s pop tune "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" as an analogy of God's promise to his people in one of his remembered sermons.
Paul graduated from Brookings High School, Brookings, S.D., in 1943. He married Gloria C. Ikast on August 28, 1947; they celebrated almost 66 years of marriage before Gloria's death last May.
Paul and Gloria had three children: Marcy Wagner of Palco, Kansas; Alesia Prichard of Wichita, Kansas; and Kevin Wagner (Tama) of St. Joseph, Missouri. They had five grandchildren: Jeremy Prichard (Keri); Ariane Kitchell; Adam Prichard (Emily); Katherine Sanders (Corey) and Mitchell Wagner. With Gloria's help, he also now watches over seven adorable, amazing great grandchildren: Natalie, Peyton, Adriana, Abigail, Roman, Christian and Audrey.
Paul and Gloria served the Church of God in several Kansas communities: Hill City, Chanute, Palco, McPherson and Ashland. Once retired, they returned to Brookings, S.D., so Paul could serve as the senior minister of visitation at Morningside Community Church.
Throughout his career, Paul was active in local and state ministerial associations, boards and committees. He also was a member of the Lions Club International Service Club. He also loved being a volunteer Foster Grandparent at Roosevelt Elementary School and a Senior Companion through Fort Hays State University. Paul enjoyed gardening.
Preceding him in death are his wife, Gloria, his parents, four brothers and five sisters. He has a surviving brother, Dale Wagner (Viola), and sister Juanita Moulton as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at North Oak Community Church, Hays. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday at Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, and on Sunday from 1 p.m. until service time at the church.
Paul's children offer their thanks to everyone who cared for their father during the last few years of his life and during his ministry. While not a simple man, Paul liked to keep things simple, so there will be not be long, flowery prose to celebrate his life -- only this: he was proud of his daughters, amused by his son and in awe of the accomplishments of his grandchildren. His family will think of him reading The Christmas Story every December 24. All other days, we will attempt to emulate his behavior by following God's plan and believing in the best in other people.
As Clarence Budington Kelland, an American author wrote "My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be sent to North Oak Community Church, Hays, Kansas. Condolences may be left for the family at www.haysmemorial.com