Rita Wagner, 94, passed away on Sunday, December 30, 2012 at the Stanley Hospital in Stanley, ND. There will be viewing from 5pm to 7pm and rosary at 7pm Tuesday, January 1st at Springan’ Funeral Home, Stanley, ND. The funeral will take place at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Stanley, ND on Wednesday, January 2, 2012 at 11a.m. with burial following the ceremony at Fairview Cemetery, Stanley.
Rita Marie Nichols was born November 4, 1918 at Epworth ND, daughter of John and Margaret (Mahan) Nichols. She grew up on their farm in Oakland Township and attended the country school just across the road, Shell Lake School #2 (Nichols School). Rita attended high school in Parshall, ND and graduated there in 1937. She went to Minot State Teacher’s College and then attended Dickinson State Teacher’s College in Dickinson, ND where she got her teaching certificate. She student taught at South Heart, ND and her first teaching job was at Bluegrass, ND. She returned home in 1938 and taught school at the same country school she had attended as a child.
Rita met Wayne Wagner, and they were married on November 5, 1939. They made their first home at Sanish, ND in the back of the gas station where Wayne pumped gas at the station and he fixed jewelry in the back. Rita taught at a country school just north of Sanish for a year. Wayne and Rita moved back to McAlmond Township and lived in the Wagner home built by Wayne’s father. They began their family there where three of their four children were born; Wally, Dean, and Karlyn. In 1950 they bought a farm in Waterloo, New York to live closer to some of Wayne’s relatives. Their fourth child, Kathleen, was born there. In 1961 they decided to move back to their old farm house in ND again. It was then that they moved their farm house into Stanley where Rita lived until the time of her death.
Rita was known to love visiting and hosting many family members over the years, as family meant the most to her. She was known for her strong Christian beliefs and prayed for all family and friends through the many years. She attended the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church since moving to Stanley in 1961. In recent years, while home bound, she appreciated the visits from the priests and Eucharistic ministers who brought weekly communion. She was an active member of the St. Ann’s Circle of the Holy Rosary church auxiliary. She was a volunteer librarian in Stanley many years ago and was a member of the Big Four Homemakers Club for many years. She also liked to sew, bake, play cards and games, read, and spend time visiting. She especially adored her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Living to the age of 94, Rita has been blessed with many descendants for a family which spanned 5 generations.
Surviving Rita are her son, Wally Wagner of Des Lacs, ND; daughters, Karlyn (Rudy) Maurer of Stanley, ND and Kathleen (Larry) Yoder of Dickinson, ND; sister-in-law, Carol (Johnson) Nichols of Seattle WA; grandchildren: Lynnette (Curtis) Vachal, Ross, Troy (Wendy) Maurer of Ross, Karla (Curt) Philip of Minot and Wade Maurer of Stanley, Dale (Ashlynn) Wagner of Fargo, Melissa (Ken) Frederick of Burlington, Bradley (Nicki) Yoder of Minot, Jason (Tamara) Yoder, and Shane (Janelle) Yoder all of Dickinson. She also had 26 great grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding Rita in death were her husband of over 61 years, Wayne Wagner; son, Dean Wagner, of Ray; grandson, Nick Wagner of Des Lacs; sisters, Muriel (Glen) Wakeman, Eunice (Walt) Goughnour; and Genevieve (John) Lincoln; brothers, Patrick Vincent Nichols, Pete (Valera) Nichols, Don (Alice) Nichols, Gerald Nichols, Jack (LaVon) Nichols, Clair (Carol) Nichols and Robert (Peggy) Nichols.
Memorials may be made on Rita’s behalf to the Home on the Range for kids at Sentinel Butte, ND. Address is: Home on the Range 16351 I-94 Frontage Rd Sentinel Butte, ND 58654