Mary Wagner

Mary Gallagher Wagner, 85, Dunmore, died on Sunday morning January 6, 2013 at Hospice Community Care under the care of Hospice of the Sacred Heart.   She was the widow of Dr. Louis Wagner who died on September 28, 1996.

Daughter of the late Michael and Bridget Peyton Gallagher, she was born in Scranton.  She was a graduate of Scranton Central High School and attended the Powell School of Business.  She was a member of Immaculate Conception Parish and had formerly been a member of Christ the King Parish, Dunmore

Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Wagner worked for 22 years in radio, television and motion pictures in Hollywood and New York City.  She first worked as the secretary to her uncle, Fr. Patrick Peyton CSC who launched a national radio program, Family Theater.  Family Theater produced weekly original radio shows with inspirational content.  The award winning radio program made famous Fr. Peyton’s slogan: “The family that prays together stays together”.

In Hollywood, she later worked for Columbia Pictures and Music Corporation of America, a talent agency.  She moved to New York City to work for many years in television broadcast development at NBC in Rockefeller Center.  She retired as executive secretary to the president of NBC in 1969.

In that year, she married Dr. Wagner, a general and thoracic surgeon and adopted his three young children.  The Wagner family lived in New City, New York and later in Franklin PA.   The family moved to Dunmore in 1991, after Dr. Wagner retired.

Parents of a disabled daughter, Dr. and Mrs. Wagner established a therapeutic riding program, Venango Area Riding for the Handicapped, which continues to operate today in Franklin PA from the Wagner Therapeutic Center, named for the couple.

Mrs. Wagner is survived by her handicapped daughter Amy;  two sisters, Catherine Jablonski, Dunmore, and Patricia Ingrasci, Scranton;  nieces, nephews, cousins and friends .   She was a devoted wife, mother, sister and friend, a fervent and faithful Catholic who prayed the Rosary daily.  She possessed a sweet and loving demeanor, was soft-spoken and patient.  She was an extraordinary animal lover. At  one time, she was the “mother” of 5 horses, 7 dogs, 3 cats, a parrot and 2 goats, in addition to her human children.  She loved Notre Dame and Steelers football and was a voracious reader.

In addition to her husband and parents,  Mrs. Wagner was preceded in death by her daughter Kit;  son Richard;  her uncle, Servant of God, Fr. Patrick Peyton CSC, a candidate for sainthood;  her brothers Msgr. John P. Gallagher PhD of the Scranton diocese and Robert Gallagher;  her sister Margaret Miller.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday January 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM at Immaculate Conception Church, 800 Taylor Ave, Scranton.  

Visitation will be at the church starting at 9:00AM on the day of the funeral

In lieu of flowers, prayers are requested.  Offerings to St Francis of Assisi Kitchen, Scranton and Immaculate Conception Church or a charity of the donor’s choice are suggested.  

Burial at Cathedral Cemetery will follow the Mass.  

Arrangements have been entrusted to under the direction of the Vanston and James Funeral Home, Scranton.

To send the family an online condolence please visit

One Comment

  1. Charles Ingrasci

    I was blessed to have such loving and fun aunt in Mary. It is a pleasure to see that the picture included with her obituary included the twinkle and smile that she always wore. Mary was always remarkable in how much energy that she put into the love and caring that she shared with her family and friends. She will be dearly missed. – Chip

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