Wade “Smokey” Wagner of Oil City was born into eternal life on April 13, 2018 at Oakwood Heights in Oil City, Pennsylvania, just a few weeks before his 90th birthday. Born in Kittanning on May 10, 1928 to the late Elsie (Stewart) and Alvin Wagner, Wade was reared on the family farm in Newmansville and was graduated from Tionesta High School.
Many area residents remember him as the lead singer -guitarist of “Smokey and the Cactus Kids”, a country-western band that played for square dances and live radio broadcasts both locally and as far afield as Wheeling, West Virginia. For many years Smokey broadcasted a country music program every Saturday evening over WKRZ in Oil City. He also worked full time in the tin-plate department for Continental Can and retired after thirty years of service.
But he was best known as the owner of Wagner’s Archery, a business that he and his wife ran from their Grandview Road home for fifty-three years. Archery enthusiasts from near and far sought out Smokey’s advice and knowledge, which he offered with a smile and generous enthusiasm. His love for a good hunting story made a quick visit to the shop nearly impossible! Established in 1953, Wagner’s was the oldest Bear Archery dealership in the state. Their business association with legendary bow hunter Fred Bear grew into a personal friendship, and going hunting with this great archer was a highlight in Smokey’s life. The walls of his archery shop displayed hundreds of photos of local hunters, and prominently featured among them were big black-and-white glossies of Fred Bear, with his recurve bow and latest trophy, inscribed, “To my good friend Smokey from Fred Bear.”
The archery shop was closed after an unfortunate series of post-operative complications left Smokey paralyzed and unable to speak. He spent the last twelve years of his life at Oakwood Heights nursing home. The dedicated nurses and aids there provided him with skilled and loving care, especially after the loss of his wife, Lois Maxine (Seigworth) Wagner last April.
Wade is survived by daughter Victoria Wagner of Boston, Massachusetts; brother Edwin Wagner and his wife Janice of Tionesta; sisters Marion Amsler of Titusville and Dorothy Baumgardner Braunegg of Philadelphia; sister-in-law Betty Eisenman and her husband Leon of President; nephews David Wagner and his wife Jody of Cranberry, James Baumgardner of Pittsburgh, Randy Amsler and his wife Cindy of Oil City, Jeff Eisenman and his wife Alicia of President; nieces Brenda Agnello and her husband Jason of Oil City and Roberta Holcombe and her husband Howard of Leesburg, Virginia; as well as great nieces and nephews.
A funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at Faith Lutheran Church, 1759 County Line Road in Venus, with interim Pastor Debrah Jacobson presiding. Interment will be in the Venus Cemetery following the service.
If you would like to make a donation in Smokey’s name, please consider Faith Lutheran Church (address above) or Oakwood Heights (10 Vo-Tech Drive, Oil City, PA 16301).
Please visit www.fallerfuneralhome.com to share your memories and photos and offer your condolences.