Sunday, March 17, 2002

Beatrice Jane Smith Wagner - Class of 1942

CEDAR PARK, TEXAS - Beatrice Jane Smith was born on Aug. 12, 1923, in Madison, Wis., to Cora and Erwin Smith. In 1941, her father died leaving Beatrice and her mother to run a rooming house together. She graduated from Central High School in Madison, Wis. in 1942. Her brother, Gordon was lost in Australia briefly in World War II, but Beatrice was able to serve proudly as a USO worker during those difficult times. Beatrice was a avid ballroom dancer at the USO dancing to the Big Band sounds. She worked for a brief time in Chicago at the Lyon and Healy Music Store meeting many recording artists of the time. In 1960, she married John A. Wagner, and became a instant mother to a 4 year old daughter. She raised Michelle as her own with love and devotion. Beatrice worked in retail sales (including 13 years for Pranges Dept. Store in Madison) while Michelle was growing up. In 1984, Beatrice and John moved to Texas. She is survived by her husband of over 41 years, John; daughter and son-in-law, Michelle and Jim Bittick in Cedar Park; step-daughter, Pat and Henry Fredenberg in Sun Prairie, Wis. and their children; granddaughters, Michelle Fredenberg, Sun Prairie, Wis., Marcy and Bill Grassa and two great-grandsons in St. Cloud, Fla.; and a grandson, Garth also in Wisconsin. Mrs. Wagner is also survived by her sister-in-law and dear friend, Dolores Smith of Madison, Wis. Mrs. Wagner was preceded in death by her parents; an infant twin sister; her brother; and a step-daughter and grandson, Naomi and Scott Fredenberg. Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 23, 2002, at BECK FUNERAL HOME, Cedar Park location. Arrangements under the direction of Beck Funeral Home, Cedar Park/Leander (512) 259-1610. Rest well, my dear Mother. May Heaven be full of the Big Band Sound so you may dance and tap your feet to the beat.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on March 17, 2002; submitted by Michael Vahldieck (Class of 1968)

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