Dorlan E. Wagner, 98, North Manchester, passed away March 21, 2021, at Peabody Healthcare Center, North Manchester. He was born Feb. 7, 1923, in Wabash County, to the late Hobart and Thelma (Yoder) Wagner and was one of seven children.
Growing up as a lifetime farmer, Dorlan knew the value of hard work, a trait that he passed on to his children. In 1941 Dorlan graduated from Jefferson Township High School in Huntington County. In 1943 Dorlan joined the United States Navy and served on the USS Bailey Navy Destroyer 14th Fleet during World War II. After serving three years in the United States Navy, Dorlan was Honorably Discharged and returned home to the farm. Though his time in the military was over, Dorlan never stopped supporting his country and was a member of the American Legion and VFW.
The following year, Dorlan married Ethel Marie Koch in Urbana, Indiana on Aug. 10, 1947. During their fifty-four years together, they had nine children. In 1974 Dorlan and Ethel Marie felt the ultimate pain of losing a child when their son Michael Wagner was tragically killed in a car accident. Later, on Nov. 24, 2001, Dorlan felt the pain of losing someone again when his wife Ethel died. He was fortunate to find happiness and companionship again, though, and married Ruth (Yentes) Oldfather on September 7, 2002. The two were wed for seventeen years before Ruth passed away on November 15, 2019.
Aside from working and living as a lifelong farmer, Dorlan also worked for seventeen years as an agent for Farm Bureau Insurance in North Manchester before retiring in 1985. On Sundays he and his family could be found in the second-row church pew at Collamer Church of God in Collamer, Indiana, where he was a member and song leader at the church. His attendance was constant until his health prevented him from attending. Dorlan was also a sixty-year member of Farm Bureau and a forty-year member of Gideons International. He had a deeply caring heart and genuinely wanted to help those around him. In the early 1940s, Dorlan began donating blood and did so until his health no longer allowed, marking a span of over seventy years.
The loving memory of Dorlan E. Wagner will be forever cherished by his sons, Timothy (Shirley) Wagner, Columbia City; Eric (Amy) Wagner, Rapid City, S.D.; Craig (J.K.) Wagner, Columbia City; Brian (Davonne Rogers) Wagner, Charlevoix, Mich.; Matthew (Karen) Wagner, Schoolcraft, Mich.; and Bradford (Joy) Wagner, Columbia City; daughters: Sheila (Gale) Lahr, Bluffton; Lora (Wendell) Enyeart, Columbia City; brother, Duane Wagner, North Manchester; sister, Darl Willcox, Sidney; twenty grandchildren, twenty-four great-grandchildren.
Dorlan was preceded in death by his parents, Hobart and Thelma Wagner; wives, Ethel Marie Wagner and Ruth Oldfather-Wagner; son, Michael Wagner; brother, Hobart A. Wagner; and sisters, Eileen Harvey, Reva Lee, and Lois Haupert.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. May 15, at Memorial Lawns Cemetery, 1100 Manchester Avenue, Wabash.
For those who wish to honor the memory of Dorlan E. Wagner, memorial contributions may be made to the Gideons International Processing Center, P.O. Box 97251, Washington D.C. 20090.
The family of Dorlan E. Wagner has entrusted McKee Mortuary with final arrangements.