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Published: Monday, 1/15/2001

Plumber ran family firm for 50 years

Allen A. Wagner, who operated Wagner Plumbing & Heating Co. in Toledo for 50 years, at first with his father, died Saturday in his West Toledo residence. He was 81.

Mr. Wagner died of congestive heart failure and complications from colon cancer, said Elizabeth “Betty” Wagner, his wife of more than 61 years.

A lifelong Toledo resident, Mr. Wagner graduated from Woodward High School, where he and his future wife met. Mrs. Wagner said her husband had worked with his father in the family business for several years before his 1937 graduation from Woodward. By 1940, he had obtained his master plumber's certificate.

In 1941, Mr. Wagner went to work as a plumber and steamfitter at the Willys-Overland factory, helping to produce military vehicles for the war effort. He returned to the family business after World War II ended in 1945.

Mr. Wagner also was a skilled woodworker, but Mrs. Wagner said her husband's artistic side went undiscovered until his retirement in 1984, when he yielded Wagner Plumbing and Heating to his brother, Roy Wagner, and nephew, Craig Wagner.

Mr. Wagner's specialty was birdhouses, which he made both for sale and as gifts for friends and relatives, his wife said.

“He gave away more of them than he sold,” she said. Mr. Wagner made small wagons, miniature boats, and other toys out of wood for his grandchildren. And each year he carved jack-o-lanterns from 100-pound pumpkins for display at Ss. Peter & Paul School in Sandusky, where a daughter, Sister Mary Jon Wagner, is principal.

In his spare time, Mr. Wagner frequently fished Lake Erie and raised flowers in a garden at his California Boulevard home.

Mr. Wagner is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Wagner; daughter, Sister Mary Jon Wagner; son, Richard; sisters, Flora Sander, June Peyton Managhan, and Lurena Hanewald; brothers, Royal and Elmer Wagner; three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe chapel, 114-128 East Alexis Rd., where friends may call between 2 and 5 p.m. or 7 and 9 p.m. today. A Scripture service will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the mortuary. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. in the Queen of Peace Chapel, 6832 Convent Blvd., Sylvania.

The family requests tributes to the Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.

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