Councilwoman's joyful energy raised quality of life
Christine Wagner's personality was magnetic.
“She could walk into a room, and everybody would be glad because everybody just wanted to see what she had to say,” her daughter, Katherine “Kate” McCombie said. “She had that ability to truly smile and light up a room where people just wanted to be around her.”
Christine F. “Chris” Wagner, 59, of Connellsville, a former city councilwoman, died Friday, March 1, 2013, in Mt. St. Macrina, Uniontown.
Mrs. Wagner, a Connellsville native, dedicated much of her time to making the town and Fayette County a better place to live.
For a time, Mrs. Wagner operated the Chris Wagner School of Dance in Connellsville, where she imparted her love of dance to her students, including her four children.
“I will never forget sitting against the wall watching her practice her solo piece to ‘Mr. Bojangles,'” McCombie said.
Her love of dance and theater led her to serve for eight years as executive director for the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Uniontown. Her post there came in between stints as executive director of The Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce.
“She was a go-getter,” said Nancy Henry of Connellsville, a former Chamber president who knew Mrs. Wagner for about 25 years. “She had a magnetic personality. People loved to be around her. She was just full of energy.”
“She loved her family and she loved Connellsville, and it's a great loss for all of us.”
Mrs. Wagner served on city council from 2002 to 2006. She worked to allocate funding to start a restoration project that would become the Edwin S. Porter Theater.
“She was somebody that rolled up sleeves to get something done,” Connellsville Councilman Brad Geyer said. “It wasn't, ‘Let's talk about this,' it was, ‘What do we have to do next?' and that's why she accomplished so much.”
McCombie said her mother saw potential in Connellsville and worked hard to organize activities such as free movies in the park.
“When we look around and we can see things that she did, it's very touching,” McCombie said. “For somebody that had so much life and loved life and loved experiencing life, it was extremely disheartening to see it cut so short, because she had so much more to give.”
In addition to McCombie, Mrs. Wagner is survived by her parents, John and Patricia Hyatt Cavalier; her husband, Fayette County President Judge John F. Wagner Jr.; daughters Diana Lowry of Connellsville and Courtney A. Wagner of Connellsville, currently in Boston; son John F. Wagner III of Connellsville; four sisters, Angela Batok of Wilkes-Barre, Michelle Stebell of Erie, Melissa Topper of Connellsville and Jacqueline Cavalier of Pittsburgh; a brother, John Cavalier of Irwin; and three grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Vito C. Martucci Funeral Home, 123 S. First St. West Side, Connellsville. A blessing service will be at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday in the funeral home, followed by a Mass at 11 a.m. in St. Rita Roman Catholic Church. Interment will be in St. Rita Cemetery.
The family asks that memorials be in the form of donations to Yough River Trail Council, The State Theatre Centre for the Arts or Mt. Macrina Manor.
Jennifer Reeger is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6155 or email@example.com.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.