Joseph William Wagner, 87


Joseph William Wagner, 87, of Dagsboro died on Friday, Dec. 22, 2006. He was a retired lineman/switchman who worked for the Diamond State Telephone Company, retiring in 1984. He was educated as an electrician, and trained at Bliss Electrical College in Silver Spring, Md. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force as an airplane mechanic during World War II in North Africa and Europe. He was awarded two Bronze Stars, and the Victory Medal. He also served in the Delaware National Guard.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Millsboro Post 7422, where he served as chaplain. He was a life member of the Telephone Pioneers of America, and a volunteer for Talking Books. Joe was a member of Grace United Methodist Church in Millsboro for 54 years, where he served as past superintendent of the Sunday School. He also held many other positions within the church and was a member of the Methodist Men. He was a charter member of the Georgetown Lions Club.

Wagner was named both a Melvin Jones and a Ralph Helm Fellow for Humanitarian Services. He was a past president of the Georgetown Lions Club and served as the secretary until just prior to his death. In 1957 he was sent to the Delmarva Chicken Festival as a representative of the Georgetown Lions Club, and proudly brought home the trophy for the chicken-eating contest. Wagner was also known to many in Sussex County as “the Honey Bee Man” and “the Rabbit Man,” in honor of two of his hobbies that he continued until recently.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four children: Susan Bradford of Pittsville, Md.; Charles, Gus, Debbie and Laura; nine grandchildren: Ellen Harlan, Brad Bradford, Matthew and Katie Wagner, Nichole and Jessica Wagner, and Thomas, Joseph, Tyler and Jefferson Crum; four great-grandchildren: Alexis and Seth Harlan, and Lauren and Peyton Bradford. He is also survived by his sister, Ruth Wolfe. He was preceded in death by his two brothers, Arnold and Paul.

A service was scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006, at Grace United Methodist Church in Millsboro, with interment at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Millsboro.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Grace United Methodist Church Building Fund; PO Box 566; Millsboro, DE 19966.