Shirley Anne Wagner
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Shirley Anne 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: Memorial Service
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: No Additional Information Added
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