Obituary: John Richard Wagner, 85, of Ludington

March 25, 2024

John Wagner

John Richard Wagner, 85, passed away peacefully with loving family alongside at his home in Ludington on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.

John was born in Pontiac on April 3, 1938, to Wilbert and Edna (Morrison) Wagner. He resided in Huntington Woods prior to his family moving to a rural farm west of Shelby when he was 9 years old. John graduated from Shelby High School in 1955. On August 29, 1959 he married his soulmate and forever love of his life Loraine Bonstell in Shelby. John graduated from Michigan State University in 1961.

John began his career as a school teacher and was always proud of having established the art department at the new Hart High School. He went on to forge an illustrious career within the auto industry while at General Motors for 37 years. Always centered on automobile design, John influenced such iconic automobiles as the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro, and Pontiac Trans Am. As chief studio engineer he helped Pontiac Motor Division experience its pinnacle of performance and popularity. John’s career culminated as global design coordinator allowing him to travel the world to align resources and methods across continents, platforms, and brands.

Along countless projects over John’s life, his family defined him architect, electrician, builder, landscaper, designer, fine artist, outdoorsman, and avid fisherman. Yet John will be most remembered by his family as the consummate perfectionist, multi-skilled mentor, lover of nature, and man of integrity and values.

John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Loraine; their children, Lance (Kelly) Wagner of Lake Orion, Mark (Lisa) Wagner of Pinckney, and Scott (Laura) Wagner of St. Augustine, Fla.; six grandchildren, Liane (Kyle Fosmoen), Katy (Kody) Croft, Tess, Kara, Cody, and Allie; sister, Catherine (Ronald) Aulerich, sister-in-law (Sharon) Wagner; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Larry and nephew, Gregory Aulerich.

With cremation now complete, the family has chosen to privately memorialize John at a future date whereupon his ashes will be joined with those of his loving and surviving wife. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the United Methodist Church of Ludington, 5810 Bryant Rd., Ludington.

Arrangements were entrusted to Oak Grove Funeral Home of Ludington,

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