Father Robert J. Wagner, at the age of 86 and a priest for 59 years, died on Saturday, October 14, 2017 in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Robert Wagner was born on June 18, 1931 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and was adopted by Leo and Barbara (Eberhardy) Wagner. He attended St. Matthias Elementary School and St. Francis Minor Seminary, both in Milwaukee and St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Father Wagner was ordained on May 18, 1957 at Christ the King Chapel at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse by Bishop John P. Treacy.
Father Wagner’s first assignment was as Assistant Pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wisconsin Rapids on June 4, 1957. In 1961 he was appointed Assistant Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Stratford; and in 1965 at Holy Trinity Parish in La Crosse. On August 24, 1966, he was also appointed as an instructor at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse. In August of 1967 he was appointed as full-time Catechist at Aquinas High School in La Crosse. On June 15, 1972 Father Wagner was appointed Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Coon Valley and as an Instructor at Aquinas High School in La Crosse. From 1981 to 1984 he served as Chaplain to McDonnel High School in Chippewa Falls. Father Wagner served as Pastor of St. Mary Help of Christians Parish in Colby from 1981 to 1987; and as Pastor of St. Joachim Parish in Pittsville and North American Martyrs in Spaulding from 1987-1988. He was then appointed as Pastor of St. Bartholomew Parish in Trempealeau on June 9, 1990 and in addition as Pastor of St. Mary Parish in Galesville on June 1, 1995. Father Wagner served as Pastor of these two parishes until he was granted the status of senior priest on June 1, 2007.
Father Wagner is survived by his siblings Anne, Raymond, Sister Frances Catherine S.S.S.F, Michael, Dorothy and Carol.
He was preceded in death by his parents Leo and Barbara, two brothers Richard and Philip, and one sister Ruth.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Christ the King Chapel in Holy Cross Diocesan Center on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Bishop William Patrick Callahan will be the main celebrant. Burial will be in the Catholic Cemetery in La Crosse.
Visitation will be held at Christ the King Chapel on Monday, October 23 beginning at 9:00 a.m. until the time of the Mass.
The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by Blaschke Schneider Funeral Home in La Crosse.
Members of the Purgatorial Society are reminded to offer three Masses for the repose of the soul of Father Wagner. Requiescat in pace.