Roger Allen Wagner
God the creator of all things called home one of his more adventurous souls, Roger Allen Wagner. He unexpectedly passed away on July 30, 2020 while living out his retirement dreams in the Philippines. In his final remaining moments in this world, he was surrounded and comforted by the love of his girlfriend Josie.
For the people who knew Roger, they knew of his wild character. A tall, dominating man with a mischievous smile and a hardy handshake. Yet hidden beneath that image was so much more.
When the almighty created Roger, he bestowed upon him love, humor, ambition, impatience and a bold spirit. Then God, with a sense of humor and irony, challenged Roger’s soul by placing him into the body of a man born a 100 years too late. Roger’s spirit drove him much like the early settlers who claimed the West. He was a mountain man trapped in a modern age. Roger was a hunter, trapper, farmer, fisherman, father,and natural born leader all rolled into one body and spirit. Yet deep in his soul was a gentle giant, that had total admiration and zeal for this crazy ride we call life.
Roger didn’t just live for the outdoors, he was the outdoors! He was more at home and at peace when he was surrounded by the wild beauty of nature. This was even apparent to others from a very young age. Being youngest of three children born and raised in the farming community of Bottineau, North Dakota, Roger was the quintessential 1950s Dennis the Menace. He even brought home snakes in his pants pockets, unbeknownst to his loving mother.
Roger didn’t own the legendary Davy Crockett Raccoon head piece of his generation. Instead, he just had pet raccoons! They were curious critters that liked to get into trouble much like their adoptive caretaker.
As his late teenage years arrived, Roger cherished his Green Dodge Challenger. It was painted in his favorite color green! His enthusiasm for cruising while dragging small-town Main Street and racing was a common occurrence. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very enthusiastic past time for the local police department, nor his parents.
As adulthood unfolded, Roger married and moved from the small-town farmlands of North Dakota to Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. There he hand-built a log cabin on 40 acres, and farmed and raised every kind of livestock or animal he could get his hands on, all while helping raise three young boys with his then-wife Sharon. In those early years, he loved the challenge of living life off the grid. If you wanted water, you had to hand pump it from the water well. There was no electricity and no television. His days where spent tending to crops and a large variety of animals. For relaxation there was hunting, trapping and fishing. Down time was for gatherings and parties with friends and neighbors. On those quiet family nights, there was time for making homemade wine and reading various books to the family. Among Roger’s favorites to read to his children where classics like “The Little House on the Prairie”!
Roger always had itchy feet and could never stay in one place too long. So beginning in early 1983, he decided to conquer his next ambitious dream. Even as a young child he hungered for the mysterious land of the north, Alaska! This was his next destination. He packed up the family, who loaded up on an old refurbished school bus. They journeyed the Alaska Marine Highway, which resembled more of a wagon trail in those days.
After months of criss-crossing the Alaskan landscape, he settled on a remote area of the Kenai Peninsula. He built an underground homestead, labored on gardening and even had a dog-sled team! He hunted, trapped and dabbled in taxidermy. In those years Roger worked construction on the North Slope. He also worked as a night shift manager at a gas station/restaurant located on the Kenai River. His two older sons joined him in the summer months, cleaning and getting into mischief.
He even took his sons on a hunt of a lifetime: a two-week sheep hunt up in the Arctic Circle. It ended with a two-day trip up and down the murky yet fast-moving Tanana River.
Eventually Roger decided it was time to move on again and reestablish his roots, this time landing the Wagner family on The Rock. The island of Kodiak was a new amazing start for the Wagner family. It offered a self-reliant community that had hardworking residents who were such original and caring people. Roger landed a good job with All Alaskan Seafood cannery, which currently is Trident Seafoods. Roger made many friends from all ethnic cultures. There were many different family gatherings, barbecues and picnics. He loved to teach his sons about the many food customs and cultures he was surrounded by! It was the greatest teaching tool and experience he could have given to his children. Real hands-on lessons and engagement in other cultural and customs. The wide array of people Roger socialized with at the cannery brought him a lifetime of friends and family.
Roger had many hidden talents and hobbies that most people probably weren’t even aware of. He loved books and collected anything and everything non-fiction. Everything from alternative medicines and alternative energy. Books on every kind of mammal, fish, plant and spiritual facet he could possibly buy. Roger knew more about biology, botany and chemistry than most. He had a passion for books.
He also was born with artistic skills, which many never saw, both in drawing and writing. He even wrote a children’s book that he never had published, but received awards in writing competitions. He dabbled in having fishponds, and even owned a teak tree forest in Thailand. The other special gift he possessed was math skills and knowledge of numbers. Even though Roger was never highly educated in school mathematics, he possessed the amazing ability to crunch numbers and solve math problems in his head! The running joke in the family was Roger should have been a rocket scientist, but that was never his calling!
Roger was a man born with unrelenting passion and thirst for knowledge. He was so full of energy and calculated risk. If life had chosen for Roger to be a musician, he would have been a drummer leading the band. His older sister Laverne’s favorite quote about her baby brother was, “Roger marched to his own beat.”
In his twilight years he mellowed with age and developed more patience and wisdom. He loved his sons and what they achieved, but more than anything he loved his grandchildren. He relished in the legacy he helped to create, the one thing that would continue his love and dreams, his children, and his beloved grandchildren!
Roger’s lessons in life to others were to not take s$%t from anyone! Don’t take life so seriously, and life’s short, enjoy it!
Yet his most important lesson was ... live your life, it’s your life and your journey, you don’t need to travel the beaten path.
Roger is preceded in death by his parents Herbert Wagner and Aldia Wagner, and older brother Ronald Wagner. He leaves behind his beloved sister Laverne Forschen and family; eldest son Robert Wagner and wife Tami Wagner and grandchild Ethan Wagner; son Jeremiah Wagner and wife Amy Wagner; and grandchildren Hunter, Summer, Aiden Wagner, along with his youngest son Mathew Wagner.
Roger’s family and friends are honored to have had him in their lives, and we expect him to greet us on the other side. Second star to the right Roger, straight on till dawn!
Love always, your family and friends.