obituary header
Welcome to the memorial page for

Kenneth Wagner

April 23, 1930 ~ June 24, 2017 (age 87)

Kenneth Edward Wagner was born on April 23, 1930 and passed away on June 24, 2017 at the age of 87 years and 2 months.
Family will gather with friends on June 28, 2017 at First Christian Church, 300 W. Central Ave. in El Dorado at 10:00 A.M. with Services Celebrating his Life beginning at 11:00. A private family burial will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Emporia, Kansas at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Kenneth was born on a farm near Hartford, Kansas to parents John G. and Mary H. Wagner. He grew up in the surrounding area of Emporia, Gridley, and spent a short time in Missouri near West Plains. His parents divorced and later his mother married Van Herman Spade. After returning from Missouri, he attended school near Emporia until 4th grade when he moved to a farm in the Gridley area where he met Helen Stone “The Neighbor Girl”. They both taught in neighboring one-room schools for one year and then were married on September 20. 1949 in Yates Center, Kansas
He graduated from Gridley Rural High School with the class of 1948. He started his teaching career with a Provisional Certificate after attending Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia for 12 weeks in the summer. He began teaching in rural schools in Coffey and Woodson Counties and Teterville. He continued his education with night and summer classes until he received his BS, MS, and EDS. He became principal/teacher at Reece, Climax, Haviland. He moved to Jefferson School in El Dorado in 1962 and he became principal at Lincoln School during the last 3 years before 0his retirement in 1988. He continued working for USD 490 as Audiovisual maintenance and “fixer” person until 2003.
He was named Kansas Elementary Principal of the Year in 1986, National Distinguished Principal in 1986, and was inducted in the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame in 1996. He was very proud that he and Helen were the first couple in the Kansas Teachers’ Hall of Fame.
His greatest joys were caring for his family, doing volunteer work to better the church and community, doing yard work and gardening, traveling, and as he would say, “the best job in town” working with his students and teachers.
Survivors include: Helen his loving wife of 67 years, 9 months, daughter, Karen Gruver, El Dorado; sons Kent Wagner (Julia), Jacksonville, Florida; Kirk Wagner (Doris), Wichita;. Grandchildren Kenneth Wagner II, Louisiana; Kyle Wagner, California, Jennifer Chasak (Brian) Spring Hill, Kansas; Laura Wagner (Paul Hedrick) Santa Fe, New Mexico; Megan Smith (Eric), Haysville; Derek Swope, Wichita. Great grandchildren McKaelynn, Karsten, Sophia, Madaline, Coban.
He was preceded in death by his mother and stepfather Mary and Herman Spade, father John G. Wagner, brothers John O. Wagner and Floyd Dale Wagner.
Present memberships include: Elder of First Presbyterian Church, Lifetime Member NEA, Charter and Continuing Member of El Dorado Senior Ambassadors, 59 year 32nd Degree Mason at Climax Lodge #411.
Carlson Funeral Home is serving the family. Please sign his online guestbook and leave a memory at

Charitable donations may be made to:

Partners In Education USD 490
124 W. Central, El Dorado KS 67042
Tel: 1-316-452-5896

First Presbyterian Church
400 W. Central, El Dorado KS 67042

Heartland Hospice
2872 N. Ridge Rd, STE 122, Wichita KS 67205
Tel: 1-316-788-7626

 Service Information

June 28, 2017

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
First Chrisitan Church
300 W. Central
El Dorado, KS

June 28, 2017

11:00 AM to TBD
First Chrisitan Church
300 W. Central
El Dorado, KS

© 2017 Carlson Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service