Richard Austin Wagar

July 7, 1926December 21, 2017
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Richard A. Wagar, formerly of Elk Rapids passed away on December 21, 2017. He was born on July 7, 1926 to Gordon and Violet Wagar in Detroit, MI. Richard, his sister Aileen and parents spent summers at their cottage in Canada on Lake Erie. At 16, he built his first kayak – which he continued to use throughout his life time. Richard attended Cooley High School, he was on the boxing team. He continued boxing when he was a proud serviceman of the US Army Airforce. “I never lost a fight.” In 1948 he married Nedra K. McConnell. They enjoyed an active social life, loved dancing and won 12 twist dancing contests. Richard was an engineer and salesman before he became a High School Math teacher for 30 years. He attended 6 colleges and earned 2 Masters Degrees in Mathematics. He received 2 National Science Foundation Awards during his career Richard was extremely active his entire life; kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, hunting, downhill and cross country skiing, golfing, bowling, snow shoeing, dog sledding. Also biking and hiking, usually with a beloved dog by his side. The Wagar family camped and traveled throughout the entire US, including driving the Alcan Highway to Alaska. In retirement -Richard and Nedra continued to take several trips throughout the country visiting many friends and family. They also took several Windjammer Cruises and traveled to Europe, New Zealand, Australia and one of their favorite trips, biking in Peru with their son Rich.

In 1986 Richard and Nedra moved to their retirement home on East Bay in Elk Rapids, MI. He was a volunteer on the Inland Seas Schoolship teaching navigation for 10 years. He loved his before breakfast swims in East Bay; as early as mid-March into mid-November. Richard enjoyed sharing his love of the outdoors and all his activities with his grandsons; Jeremy and Jordan Jacobi.

He is survived by his loving wife Nedra Wagar of Traverse City, Son Richard H. Wagar of Aspen, CO. Daughter Cyndi and Dick Jacobi of Manistee, MI, Grandson Jordan Jacobi and his family Ashleigh, Hailey and Hunter of Cadillac, MI Nephew Mike (Shelia) Banghart of Austin, TX. Special friends The Wm Bartlett Family.

He was preceded in death by grandson Jeremy Jacobi, sister Aileen Carpenter, parents Violet and Gordon Wagar.

Visitation will take place at Covell Funeral Home of Elk Rapids, MI on Thurs Jan 4 from 1 pm until the service which begins at 2 pm.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Dementia Society of America PO Box 600, Doylestown, PA 18901 Richard's grandson Jordan will be doing a Polar Bear Plunge fundraiser for Special Olympics in Richards memory. donations can be made at

If you'd like to contact Nedra, she can be reached by phone at 231-264-9830 or email at


  • Memorial Service Thursday, January 4, 2018
  • Memorial Visitation Thursday, January 4, 2018

Richard Austin Wagar

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Tom Maynard

January 8, 2018

Dick volunteered at Inland Seas from 2006 to 2009 totaling at least 120 hours. We need more people in the world like Dick, and we are sorry to hear that he has gone. He lives on in the hearts and minds he touched aboard the Inland Seas.

Rich Wagar

January 3, 2018

He said to me recently and often "Son, I Iove your Mother more now than ever." He set high standards in honesty and integrity which for me are the only way to treat my fellow man. Of me, he said, "I never knew you were sober until I saw you drink one time, better stay sober Rick, ha.". When it comes to living your dream and fixing toilets he said remember Son," a Wagar never gives up!". And Dad as you know, I have never been much good at giving up. What a ride we have had dreaming our lives and living our dreams. Thanks, Dick Wagar, forever my father, friend, and mentor. The adventures of men continue. Here is to the A-rushes past and to come. The bonding of men to men in friendship is a blessing beyond compare. Eh? My bother-men and Dad. Love on and forever. I got your back. Richard Hart Wagar
Nedra Katherine Wagar you are the gem and Star of the family Wagar. You rock my world. So Rock on girl. Rock on.

Jane, Judy Duverney

January 2, 2018

We fondly remember Dick and Nedra's love for a good concert and enjoyed sharing conversation and music with them many times over the years. Our brother David considered the Wager's good friends as do we. We will miss seeing them. We send are heartfelt sympathy to Nedra and family.
Jane Duverney, Judy Dean

Dottie Batchelder

January 1, 2018

Sending hugs and prayers, so sorry to hear about your Dad, Cyndi. We are here if you need something.

Joyce Reed

December 24, 2017

I was so lucky to know this man and his family. Went dog sledding in 2000 in the UP. Dick was a loving Husband, Father and Grandpa. He will be missed.

Cyndi Jacobi

December 23, 2017

I love you Daddy!!