Cover photo for Vernell Wagner's Obituary
Vernell Wagner Profile Photo

Vernell Wagner

May 4, 1941 — July 11, 2022

Herman

Vernell Wagner


Vernell Howard Wagner, age 81, passed away peacefully at home in Herman, MN, on Monday, July 11 surrounded by family after quietly and bravely fighting a year- long battle with cancer.

Born on May 4,1941 to Howard and Esther Thompson Wagner, Vernell was baptized and confirmed in the Methodist Church. He grew up on farms in Roseville and Delaware townships and graduated from Herman High School in 1959. While in school he was a member of the band, FFA and 4H and has the distinction of being Herman High School's only male cheerleader.

On August 23, 1958 he married his high school sweetheart, Linda Tracy. Despite being just teenagers at the time, they remained together through children, moves, jobs and family. Three children Scott, Brenda and Tammy were born to them in 4 years. Vernell described these years in the 1991 Heritage of Grant County book, " In November of 1962, we borrowed a small camp trailer, packed up our belongings and our life savings of $150 and headed south to find winter employment. Our final destination was Kansas where I worked road construction in Salina and Abilene. In 1965, we migrated to Stanton, California where I found employment at Douglas Aircraft. In 1968 we moved back to Minnesota but found the winters too tough. In 1969 we moved to Enumclaw, Washington where I worked in road construction. "

After moving back to Minnesota in 1974 and taking over Wagner Trucking, Vernell grew the business to the Wagner Company adding larger trucks, machinery and an excavating service. In 1998, along with son in law Tom, they developed and trademarked the Seal-R, a sewer cover.  He formed BrenLin Company to manufacture and distribute covers throughout the US. Vernell and Tom also renovated a house in Herman naming it The Leigh House and using it for a rental property and Herman's first "Bed-no Breakfast".
When he retired from working, he took an interest in developing and creating wooden and plastic gifts with a Herman theme. He sold these items at craft fairs and community celebrations.

He strongly believed in service to his community and church. He served on many boards including District 5 Grant County Commissioner for 24 years, Elder of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Herman for 22 years, Delegate to several national Missouri Synod Church conventions, Grant County Museum Board chairman. Along with family members. he worked tirelessly to redevelop Pine Ridge Park, and helped host the Family Fun Days for special olympic athletes. He also helped raise funds for building the Herman Community Center and helped in creating the first Bachelormania celebration in 1994.  He was a graduate of the Blandin Community Leadership Program and a member of Toastmasters.

Vernell enjoyed his time as Commissioner and was very proud of his time there. A favorite project was his successful letter writing efforts to convince the DNR to give Pine Ridge Park to the county. He also took a special interest in the renovation of the Grant County Courthouse serving on the committee to pick and design and approve the funds for construction of the elevator and donated significant funds toward the clock on the top exterior of the courthouse that was in the original blueprints but never built. As he was the only bidder in the auction, he received, in several pieces, the original 1906 commissioners table designed for the Courthouse. He rebuilt and refinished the table and enjoyed having several "meetings" in his home.

In addition to his sense of service, Vernell had a sense of humor and fun. He loved riding motorcycle and took many trips throughout the US with Linda and joined in poker runs with his son and sons in laws. He even drove to Nashville to purchase the touring bus built for Kenny Rogers mother. Vernell named the bus Lucille after Rogers' mother. He operated a local touring company hosting many good times with family and new and old friends. The highlight of owning Lucille was driving her to Seattle where Linda and Vernell boarded a ferry to Juneau, Alaska where they visited HHS classmate Judy Ryan. They continued on to Whittier by ferry, then drove to Wasilla, Alaska to visit sister Elvina and family. He drove home all 2,964 miles on the Alaska Highway. Each trip in Lucille always began with Willie Nelson's " On the Road Again". The family was comforted to have this song playing in the background during his passing.

He will be forever loved and missed by Linda, his wife of almost 64 years- Children Scott and wife Melanie of Medora, North Dakota, Brenda Severance and husband Tom and Tammy Lyman and husband Darin, all from Herman. Also joining the family are five grandchildren: Ryan Wagner and wife Whitefish Woman, Sonya Lubenow and husband James, Matt Severance, Tara Nordquist and husband Cory, and TJ Severance and wife Mackenzie. The Wagners are blessed with sixteen great grandchildren: Four Cedars Standing, Spotted Shield, Faces the Dawn, Red Earth, Walks with the Wind   McKenna, Rylie, Halli, Gracee, Kamryn, Kailyn, Braylee, Reece, Paityn, Carsyn, and Hayden. Also surviving are sisters Elvina Aanerud and husband Dean, and Nadine Wagner Brown and husband David - Nieces and Nephews Debb, Diana, David, Jon, Jenny, Ben and Anna-Leigh, along with several great and great great-nieces, nephew and cousins as well as Aunt Charlotte Hutchinson. Vernell's greatest legacy is his family. In 2021, he encouraged his sisters to have a reunion of both the Thompson and Wagner cousins because" we need to gather the relatives and celebrate family NOT at a funeral".

Preceded in death by his parents Howard and Esther, in-laws Glen and Esther Tracy, infant brother Donald Gary George, infant niece Dawn, sister Carolyn and niece Renee.

Funeral Services will be held Monday, July 18 at 10:30 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Herman, MN with Rev. Reed Stockman officiating. Interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery. Visitation will begin Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. and continue until service time at 10:30 a.m. at the church.

Hanging in his house, a plaque made by Vernell states "Enjoy the little things in life. For one day you will look back and realize they were the big things". Blessed be the rich life and memories of Vernell.

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

Past Services

Visitation

Monday, July 18, 2022

9:00 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

206 4th St E, Herman, MN 56248

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Funeral Service

Monday, July 18, 2022

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church

206 4th St E, Herman, MN 56248

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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