Dorothy Wagner


Remembering Our Dear Mom

Our mom, Dorothy (Do) Hildegarde Wagner (nee Klepatz) died on Saturday, February 10 at Laurelhurst Village care facility in Portland, Oregon. She would have turned 96 on June 1.

Do had a strong faith in the power of Christian love and forgiveness and her whole life tried to make others happy with her loving care and sense of humor. She grew up in Ohio in a large, loving German immigrant family. She was a quintessential homemaker using her creativity, skills and efficiency to stretch a tight budget, create beauty and make her family feel loved and valued. Being a mother, grandmother and great grandmother were her greatest joys. She was a loving, faithful and hard working minister’s wife and a vital part of the congregations her husband Ozzie (Oswald) served throughout Montana and Oregon.

Do delighted in making up games and activities to keep her four children occupied in a very small house. She loved the outdoors and taught her husband and children to love and value the environment. She decorated for holidays, especially loving Christmas, and creating a magical and festive atmosphere with greenery, homemade candles and cookies galore.

She was a wonderful cook and loved to collect recipes which she cut from women’s magazines and pasted on index cards eventually filling two old library card catalogs. She came up with many creative casseroles often using the wild game parishioners passed on to the family when they had fresh game to restock their own freezers. She struggled to grow gardens in rocky backyards and canned the produce Ozzie brought home from church members.

Do sewed for herself and all of her children, early on making them playsuits from printed flour sacks, first by hand and then on a treadle sewing machine. In early congregations she was given first pick of the mission barrels from which she found shoes for her children and items to mend and remake. Her hands were always busy. She made curtains and placemats and napkins, always setting a pretty table, rewarding herself by arranging flowers to decorate the house. She loved the easier gardening of Oregon and both she and Ozzie took pride in later years in their beautiful flower garden. They grew many of the flowers that Do turned into pressed flower art, a hobby she pursued for over 35 years.

Do was always generous with her hospitality and caring for others. She donated her time and creativity at church and especially loved making quilts with the women at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Portland.

Having played piano, trumpet and French Horn in high school she enjoyed playing hymns and other tunes on the piano and a number of times played her trumpet for festive church services on Christmas and Easter.

While Ozzie taught her to love classical music, art and poetry, she opened his eyes to the beauty of nature and for most of their marriage they loved to camp, hike, wade in creeks and go beachcombing. Early on they loved to fish. They traveled to 49 states and took one special trip to Europe.

Do was a giving, loving person and her final act of giving was to donate her brain to Oregon Health Science University for research. She made that decision when she was first diagnosed with dementia. Her other gifts of love and caring are carried forward by those whose lives she touched.

~ by Linda

Do’s Family

Do’s parents Theodore Klepatz and Albertina Prenzlaff both came to the United States as young people. They were born in German settlements in Poland under Russian rule. They meet, married and lived the rest of their lives in and near Cleveland, Ohio. Do, although born in Cleveland on June 1, 1922 grew up in the suburb of Bedford. She was the middle child with one older brother Theodore Jr. (Ted) and older sister, Margaret (Margie) and one younger sister, Virginia (Ginny) and brother Herbert (Herb.) Only Virginia 93 survives her, living in Ohio.

Do married Oswald (Ozzie) Wagner in 1944 and they moved to Montana where Ozzie served a number of congregations as a Lutheran minister. Their first parish was in Harlowton. While living there son Mark Theodore was born in 1945 and daughter Linda Margaret in 1947. In 1950 they moved to Hardin, Montana where Gretchen Laura was born in 1950. In 1953 they moved to Bozeman, Montana. Christa Louise was born in 1955.

Left to Right: Christa, Do, Gretchen, Mark, Ozzie, Linda

The family moved to Salem, OR in 1965 and then to Portland in 1969. Ozzie died in 2009.

Mark and wife Jocelyn, Linda and Ralph Schmoldt, Christa Louise and Tom Alexander live in Oregon. Daughter Gretchen and John Rist live in Ohio.

Gretchen and John’s daughter Emily Chalfant and husband Brookes also live in Ohio with their children Margaret (Maggie) age six and Jack age three. Their son Elliot and wife Jen live in Washington D.C. and are expecting a baby girl in April.

Grandson Kalin Schmoldt, wife Kate Lyman and daughter Elena Margaret (age 5) live in Portland.

Jen, John, Maggie, Emily, Gretchen, Elliot, Jack, Brookes

Top: Jocelyn, Mark, Do, Linda, Ozzie, Tom. Bottom: John, Christa, Ralph, Gretchen

Do, Gretchen, Ozzie, and grandchildren Emily and Elliot.

Grandson Kalin, Kate, Do, and great-granddaughter Elena.

Do and family

Do and great-granddaughter Elena.

Do with grandchildren: Kalin, Elliot, and Emily

A Remarkable Lady

Do's 95th birthday.

Do with three furry grand-piggies.

It wouldn't be Christmas without Do's stollen!