Cover photo for Joseph B. Wagner Jr.'s Obituary
Joseph B. Wagner Jr. Profile Photo

Joseph B. Wagner Jr.

May 22, 1942 — December 1, 2023

Joseph B. Wagner Jr., beloved father, husband, and professor, died on December 1st, 2023.  His generosity of spirit and his radiance of love lives on. 

Born in Brooklyn, NY, to Joseph B. Wagner Sr. and Mary E. Wagner (née Drew), he was one of nine siblings, a husband, a father of three and a grandfather of three. 

After completing his undergraduate study at St. Francis College in Maine, Joe received his PhD from Kent State University in 1974.  He then spent a rich career teaching at Kent. He started at the East Liverpool Campus where he became the University’s second faculty member to embark on a year-long teaching exchange with the University of Warsaw, bringing his family on a life-changing year abroad in Poland.  Following that, he spent the bulk of his career at the Stark Campus, where he became a central figure in the professional and cultural life of the campus.  His legacy there has had an extensive reach, including a scholarship he established in 2008 in the name of his mother, Mary E Wagner. He has always touched the lives of the people in that community and will continue to do so. 

Joe possessed an inimitable sense of humor, with a ready laugh and an eagerness to share his enjoyment of all that amused him.  He had a fiery passion for social justice and could not abide cruelty or ignorance that led to cruelty. He was always eager to help those around him.  Indeed, he will be best remembered for his kindness, warmth and his immense generosity of spirit; he was a fountainhead of good will for his friends and family, his first instinct always being to ask ‘how can I help?’  He will be remembered with love and fondness by all those whose lives he touched: friends and colleagues, students, partners, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren, and of course the one dog he came to love, Tina Louise.

He is survived by his wife, Laura Joan Wagner (née McIntosh); his former wife, Mary Ann Wagner (née LaGreca); his children, Joe, Matt, and Ann; his daughters-in-law, Sonia Lira and Deborah Jermyn; and his grandchildren, Isabel, Miranda, and Miles. 

Joe and his family have been especially grateful to the friendship and support of those who cared for him in his final year: Jill Thomas, Jackie Gillie, Angie Howe, and Ray (aka Batman) Tullis.  He will be missed beyond measure.

In lieu of flowers, Joe and family have asked that donations be made to ALS research and support; a good venue for this is the ALS Association. 

A celebration of life will be held in January, with date to be determined.

One of Joe’s greatest loves was the work of Shakespeare, which permeated his professional and personal lives.  As Hamlet said of his late father, ‘He was a man, take him for all and all. I shall not look upon his like again.’

Arrangements are entrusted to Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 South Union Ave Alliance, Ohio 44601.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph B. Wagner Jr., please visit our flower store.

Make a donation to one of the following charities in remembrance of Joseph B. Wagner Jr.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 20, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Cassaday Turkle Christian Funeral And Cremation

75 S Union Ave
Alliance, OH 44601

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 20, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Add to Calendar

Cassaday Turkle Christian Funeral And Cremation

75 S Union Ave
Alliance, OH 44601

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


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