William G. “Bill” Wagner, a retired newspaper editor who served the church in communications and leadership roles, died May 7 in San Antonio, Texas, after a long illness. He was 85.
The funeral was May 11 at Concordia Lutheran Church, San Antonio, with interment following at San Jose Cemetery, San Antonio.
From 1984 to the time of his death, Wagner was editor of the Texas Messenger, the LCMS Texas District’s 24-page insert for The Lutheran Witness magazine.
Among other church-leader roles, Wagner served on the Synod’s Editorial Commission for Official Periodicals (1958-62) and the Board for Communication Services (1981-86). He was elected to various offices at Concordia Lutheran Church through the years.
In 27 years with the San Antonio Express-News staff, Wagner was city editor, news editor, and managing editor before retiring in 1975. He then taught journalism at Concordia College (now University), Austin, Texas, and was public information officer for the State of Texas.
While in the state post, Wagner wrote Write Right, a book designed to eliminate bureaucratic terminology in state memos and reports — for which Wagner received commendations from the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. The book also was widely read in corporate circles.
Survivors include his wife, Bobbye, of San Antonio; a son — Rev. Stephen (Rita) Wagner, Dallas; two daughters –- Sandy Wagner, San Antonio, and Susan (David) Haley, Naruna, Texas; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
The family suggests that memorials be directed to the Concordia Lutheran Church Building Fund, 16801 Huebner Road, San Antonio, TX 78258, or to the Pastoral Leadership Institute, 12300 Ford Road, Ste. 450, Dallas, TX 75234.
Wagner wrote his “philosophy on dying,” to be read at his funeral:
“My casket is not a coffin, but a hope chest. For Christians — Easter people — our hope is in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our hope, our faith, is that death is not the end, but the beginning. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.”
Posted May 21, 2007