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Published: Friday, 11/4/2005

Creator of zoo sculptures had varied career in arts

Patricia Anne Wagenman, 62, a Perrysburg artist who created animal sculptures displayed at the Toledo Zoo, died Saturday in Sacred Heart Medical Center, Eugene, Ore., of injuries from an Oct. 9 car accident about 15 miles south of Eugene.

Mrs. Wagenman, in 1986, created the concrete hippo head perched above the entrance to the zoo's African Savanna. Her sculptures at the zoo include a pair of pandas, the polar bear fountain, and a gorilla family added in 1988, 1997, and 2000, respectively.

Mrs. Wagenman, who had a lifelong interest in animals and art, told The Blade in 1997 that she tried to make the gorilla family look "as human as we are."

"I tried to show their individual roles - the male is in a guarding position and the female is more content looking to her mate to protect her."

Other commissioned artwork include pieces for the National English Setter Association.

Mrs. Wagenman taught art from 1967 to 1971, first at Scott High School and then at Macomber-Whitney High School.

Prior to that, she designed greeting cards for American Greetings in Cleveland and Rustcraft Cards in Boston.

Over the years, she also bred and showed champion Arabian horses, English setters, and Irish wolfhounds.

The daughter of Allen Snook, a retired Chicago painter and photographer, Mrs. Wagenman, a native of Washington, began her artistic career at age 4, when she began taking lessons at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mrs. Wagenman told The Blade that she became a professional artist after receiving a bachelor of fine arts degree from Miami University of Ohio in 1964.

She later took courses in sculpture and in art foundry at the Toledo Museum of Art.

In 1966, she married Barton L. Wagenman in Oxford, Ohio. They'd lived in the greater Toledo area since 1967, first in Toledo, then in Sylvania Township, and later in Perrysburg Township, where they lived since 1982.

"She was a woman of great intellectual capacity and energy who was able to surmount steep learning curves and generate works of public art that we can all be proud of," Mr. Wagenman said. "She was also a woman of deep feeling for her family and her friends."

In her free time, Mrs. Wagenman liked to participate with her daughters in 4-H equestrian programs.

Mrs. Wagenman was a founding member of the Toledo Area Sculptors Guild.

Surviving are her husband, Barton L. Wagenman; daughters, Anastasia Wagenman and Amanda Hayes; brothers, Denis Snook and James Snook; stepbrother, Judson Higgins, and a grandson.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Nov. 18 at First Unitarian Church, Toledo.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Zoo or to the Toledo Area Sculptors Guild.

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