Tom Wagner passed away early Sunday morning, Nov. 24, 2013 at his home in Evanston, with his loving wife Betsy by his side. A long-term cancer survivor, he embraced life with optimism. Tom’s inquisitive mind gave him a broad perspective of the world. He fit in easily with a wide range of people and situations. In spite of describing himself as a cheap b*****rd, he had a genuinely generous spirit. He gave tirelessly to the interests he felt worthwhile.
The Rotarian “Service above Self” was a motto Tom embraced wholeheartedly. A long-term member of the Evanston Rotary Club, he served as president as well as in numerous other capacities. He was particularly proud of his affiliation with the Youth Alternative Home Association (YAHA) board.
He also lent his efforts to the Wyoming Community Foundation board. Through his wife Betsy, Tom developed a deeper appreciation of the arts, nature, and saw more beauty in the sometimes stark Wyoming landscape. Two summers herding sheep on his horse Sorry and dog Baldy, and the essential transistor radio, gave young Tom a strong connection to his rural upbringing. An avid hiker and cross-country skier, he invested his time in the Bear River Outdoor Recreation Alliance (BRORA) board.
Tom was born to Wilbur and Mavis Wagner in Lander, on July 1, 1946, and grew up on a farm north of Riverton. He attended school in Shoshoni,and graduated from Riverton High School. He received a BS in Biochemistry and a MS in Finance, both from the University of Wyoming.
He always remained a loyal Pokes fan. He met his wife, Betsy, at the University of Wyoming; they were married in 1972. After living for several years in the Houston, Texas area, Tom and Betsy returned to Wyoming with a business venture in Evanston.
In the 1990s, he started producing his E.G.G. product, which prolongs the life of produce in the consumer’s home. Tom donned an “EGG man” outfit to promote his invention, bringing his own touch of professionalism to work. He preferentially hired non-traditional workers through MRSI, EBLN, and the State Hospital. He was richly rewarded with their exceptional performance.
Tom was as comfortable in the industrial manufacturing world as he was crafting perfectly barbecued ribs in his Big Green Egg. An avid reader, he retained incredible amounts of trivia, and could talk knowledgeably about many subjects. He loved the experiences of living in and visiting Taiwan, southern Texas, Turkey and other countries.
Tom and Betsy had a rare devotion to each other; a love that extended to family and friends. They loved hiking and camping in the Wind River Range, and exploring many places. With no children of their own, their nieces and nephews have had a special place in their lives. Dogs, too, have enriched the Wagners’ lives and more importantly, the Wagners have transformed the lives of rescue dogs. The project Tom left unrealized was the building of a straw bale house on their treasured property south of Evanston. His and Betsy’s respect for the environment extended deep into their lives.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, his brother Wendell (Cathy), of Fremont, Neb.,, sister Kathleen (Terry), of Riverton. Also, nephews Randy Wagner of Irving, TX, Michael Irvin and family of Riverton, Jay Irvin and family of Riverton, and neices Wendy Benes and family of Washington, D.C., and Jodie Scheiben and family of Richmond, Ind.
A memorial service will be held December 3, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the Machine Shop in Evanston. Donations may be made in Tom’s name to the Rotary Foundation or M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030.