Saturday, February 21, 2004

Frederick Wagner liked a challenge

He turned heads at work, on golf course

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONTGOMERY- Frederick Jacob Wagner was a competitive guy.

In 1955, he became the youngest national sales manager for the Gibson Art Co., and within two years was promoted to vice president of sales.

He was an accomplished golfer who shot his age four times and had six holes-in-one. As a bowler, he carried a 192 average in the "scratch league."

But when asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied, "as a good father."

His son Connie Wagner of Green Township said he succeeded.

Mr. Wagner died Feb. 11 at the Courtyard Nursing Home a day after his 93rd birthday.

Born in 1911 on a farm in Fort Atkinson, Wis., he attended a one-room school until entering Fort Atkinson High School.

He received a degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1932.

After graduation, he went to work for the National Cash Register Corp., where he was named "salesman of the year" for three consecutive years.

In March of 1934, he met Josephine Elizabeth Amos in Des Moines, Iowa. He popped the question in June and married her in August. His marriage to his "Darling Josephine" lasted 68 years, until her death in 2002.

Mr. Wagner joined Gibson as a junior salesman in 1939. When the United States entered World War II, he also worked full time for the Northern Pump Co., which produced secret parts for submarines.

He worked his way up the ladder at Gibson until he reached national sales manager in 1955 - a job that landed him in Cincinnati. When Gibson designed the official White House cards for the Nixon administration, Mr. Wagner presented them to Julie Nixon during the first year of her father's first term.

Mr. Wagner was a member of Kenwood Country Club - where he served as president twice. He is the only member in the club's history to have won all three handicap tournaments - the President's Cup, the Governor's Bowl and the Kenwood Trophy. Six trees were planted at the club in his honor.

He was also a four-term president of the National Greeting Card Association, a 33rd-degree Mason, a Shriner and a member of Armstrong Chapel.

In addition to his son, Conard Boyce Wagner, survivors include: another son, Frederick Amos Wagner of Forest Hill, Md.; a daughter, Mary Josephine Altom of Martinsville, N.J.; five grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Services have been held. Burial was in the Old Armstrong Chapel cemetery in Indian Hill.

Memorials: Armstrong Chapel, 5125 Drake Road, Cincinnati, OH 45243-3925 or Hospice of Cincinnati, 4310 Cooper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

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