Shirley A. Wagner
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Shirley A. Wagner , Age: 82
January 22, 1935 -- December 17, 2017

Shirley Anne Wagner, 82, of Overland Park, KS, mother, actress, educator and bon vivant died Sunday, December 17, 2017 in a car accident. The spotlight has dimmed but the memories she created will shine bright forever.

She was born a twin on January 22, 1935, to Charles and Esther Long of Kansas City, Missouri. Her lifelong journey was centered in Kansas City where she graduated from Paseo High School in 1953. This was not a journey that she made alone. As a cheerleader at Kansas City Kansas Junior College, she caught the eye of Richard Wagner, a handsome young crooner from Kansas City, Kansas. His baritone sound with his band, The Portraits, had captured her attention as well. It was at a forensics tournament in El Dorado, Kansas, however, that the two finally met. They hit it off immediately, talking deep into the night about their mutual love for acting, dancing and singing. They were married two years later in 1956 while students at Emporia State University, beginning an epic 61-year journey.

The highlight of their life together was the family they created: four children – two boys, Mark and David, and two girls, Sharon and Lisa. All the children were encouraged to pursue education and her lifetime passion: acting. She led by example as the whole family was onboard for the roller coaster ride of acceptance and rejection that is the life of an actress. Countless theater roles, television commercials, print work and movies she performed in were the topics of conversation around the dinner table. Nobody who entered the home left without viewing her talent tapes or hearing her very animated dissection of local theater critics. The family celebrated in all her success. Among the many highlights: Winning a Best Actress Award as Veta Louise in the Johnson County Barn Players production of Harvey in 1977, sharing the co-lead with Richard in a production of Milk and Honey in 1982, carrying the leading role in the movie Mrs. Brommet’s Garden and performing in Mac Lethal’s rap music video, Jake and Olive, that to date has been viewed over 1.7 million times on YouTube.

In addition to her role as a working actress, Shirley hosted a weekly radio show, “Woman to Woman,” on Kansas City’s KKFI for eleven years, and promoted her craft through teaching acting lessons and organizing acting troupes for the community. She also was very active in the Shawnee Mission Branch of the American Association of University Women.

She is survived by her husband, Richard; her children, Sharon (Ken) Hilger, Lisa (Chris) Wagner-Carollo, and David (Tracy) Wagner. And five grandchildren she absolutely adored and who will be serving as her honorary pall bearers: Kristin, Kassidy, Zach, Dawson and Jonny. She is preceded in death by her parents; sister, Sharon Stanton; and son, Mark. Shirley loved a party, attending or throwing one herself, and was at her strongest when surrounded by family and friends singing Broadway show tunes around her grand piano, playing a game of charades or challenging anyone who would take her on to a karaoke contest. So please join us for one last gathering to celebrate her rich life.

All are invited to attend Shirley’s memorial service at Porter Funeral Home, 8535 Monrovia, Lenexa, KS (913) 438-6444 Kansas, on January 20th, 2018 at 1 p.m.

A reception at Community Covenant Church, 15700 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas, will immediately follow the memorial. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to St. Lukes Lutheran Church, Kansas City, Kansas.

Additional Service: Celebration of Life
Location: Porter Funeral Home
Address: 8535 Monrovia Street
City: Lenexa
State: KS
Zip Code: 66215
Date: January 20, 2018
Time: 1:00 PM
Additional Information: A reception at Community Covenant Church, 15700 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas, will immediately follow the memorial.
Google Map: Click Here to see Location on Map.

Irma Penn January 02, 2018

Friend Kansas City , Missouri

There is a rainbow in the night's sky. Shirley is a shining star.

Joe Pollock January 04, 2018

Neighbor & friend Overland Park , Kansas

I was saddened to hear of Shirley's passing. Shirley was such an effervescent and vibrant person. I'm sure that God will have a special venue for her. May Eternal rest grant unto her.

Rachel (Hawk) Bolton January 05, 2018

Longtime friend Overland Park , Kansas

A friend since college days, Shirley was a lovely and talented person in so many ways. I will miss her greatly.

George Frazier January 07, 2018

Enter your relationship with Shirley A. Wagner Lawrence , Kansas

So sorry to hear about Shirley. Best to David and the family. George Frazier

Ryan & Vanessa Troup January 15, 2018

Nephew, niece-in-law Lancaster , Ohio

Dear Uncle Richard, Dear Sharon, Lisa, David, and family, What a lovely obituary befitting a special lady. We are so sorry for your loss, and we are grateful to have had Aunt Shirley in our lives, if only in spurts. We will always remember her love of performing, and the fearless gusto with which she shared her passion. May the knowledge that she brought joy to so many comfort you at this time. Our deepest sympathies.

LANCE ALSPAUGH January 18, 2018

Enter your relationship with Shirley A. Wagner LOS ANGELES , California

Shirley will always have a special place in my heart. She helped me in so many ways as a young man and novice theater person during my high school years. So much encouragement, joy and love, she gave it all. All my best to the family for a speedy healing during this challenging time. I will always remember the one and only Shirley Wagner.

Shelli Sloan January 20, 2018

Friend of family Los Angeles , California

A childhood friend of her daughter & son (Sharon & Mark), and at the time, the most shy person on earth, Shirley played a role in coaxing me out of my shell (who could be shy around Shirley?). She even facilitated an audition for The King & I - KCMO Summer Stock (my talent is meager & it was only Shirley's contacts that landed me a place on stage!). The experience was fabulous & one I hold dear. I have never forgotten her kindness and goodwill. My thoughts are with you all. Her light was so bright - may time and the memories you made help to fill the empty space she has left behind. With love & light - Shelli (Alspaugh) Sloan

Karl and Joy Neybert January 20, 2018

Family Friend Overland Park , Kansas

Shirley was the only person my parents Greg and Veronica Neybert would let read "The Night Before Christmas" at their parties. Together Richard and Shirley would grace guests with a wonderful duet or lead the whole group in song. Those are cherished memories I will always hold dear. Even as a child, I remember that Shirley and Richard were always together - a loving couple. Rest in peace and lead heaven's choirs.

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