Virgil D. Wagner

January 17, 1935 - March 5, 2024

Virgil Dean Wagner, age 89, died peacefully at his home at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge in Charlottesville, VA on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. His Christian faith sustained him throughout his life, and especially as his final journey guided him to his heavenly home and reunion with his beloved wife, Margaret. Amazingly, he knew how to pick his moment. He died just after a prayer circle with his favorite chaplain and family members and while being given a massage by his favorite massage therapist!

Virgil Wagner was born January 17, 1935, on the family farm near Thornton Iowa which had been purchased from horse traders and broken from prairie land in 1889 by his grandfather. Virgil’s father and brother had both been born in the same house and lived their lives there. Virgil grew up there with his parents, Leon and Alice Wagner, and his brother, Ivan Wagner, and graduated from the Thornton Consolidated School while doing his share of farm work. He grew to love soaking in the sun (maybe learned from the barn kitties!) when the cold Iowa winters started to break each Spring. Later in life, he could often be spotted doing so in a courtyard or sunny window.

Virgil was considering attending Junior College when a wonderful high school teacher persuaded him to take merit exams for the U. of Iowa. He won a scholarship (full tuition of $78 per semester!). So, he boarded a bus to Iowa City, where he eventually graduated in 1958, cum laude, with a degree in Mathematics with emphasis on Actuarial Science. He proceeded to earn his M.S. degree in Mathematics and pursued the rigorous schedule of exams administered by the Society of Actuaries to become a Fellow of the Society some ten years later, after a short stint in the Army.

While at Iowa, Virgil met Margaret Liljedahl, who was majoring in Music Education, earning her BA in Music ED, also graduating Cum Laude. Both Virgil and Margaret were elected to Phi Beta Kappa. They married in 1957 and raised three children and enjoyed 3 grandchildren.

Virgil’s career achievements placed him much in demand by Insurance Companies and consulting firms and the family moved a number of times. Then a call came from a Dutch owned insurance company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and he moved ‘one more time’ thinking it would be the last move. He had become the Chief Financial Officer of the company, when he was diagnosed with an AVM (Arterial Venous Malformation) on the spinal cord. Virgil was left with a partial paraplegia, making the constant travel of his job very difficult. The company in the Netherlands offered Virgil the job of Chief Financial officer at the parent company as a solution. Virgil and Margaret moved to Wassenaar NL near The Hague in 1992 where they enjoyed learning a new culture, traveling throughout Western Europe and beyond, and trying new foods and activities. Seven years later, they retired to Flat Rock, NC where they lived until moving to WCBR.

Luckily they both liked travel and adventure, music, nature, and making new friends and these activities are available everywhere. Family was always important in their lives, so Virgil and Margaret made sure that family stayed connected during their various moves, regularly traveling with their children to visit extended family and enjoying many camping trips with their siblings and nieces and nephews. Virgil expressed his musical interest through playing the trumpet in the army and community bands, singing tenor in various church choirs, singing Barbershop with the Alexandria Harmonizers, with a George Mason Choral group, and for a particularly fun Fred Waring style group. He very much enjoyed theater and band concerts. His love of nature led to many Sunday drives and picnics, camping trips, 4-wheel driving adventures, train trips, and even a European River cruise. Virgil enjoyed following several sports teams, particularly college basketball, usually picking ones with good programs led by ethical coaches, including the Iowa Women's and the Virginia Men’s Teams.

Virgil and Margaret moved to WCBR in 2013 and in spite of some health difficulties found ways to pursue the activities of interest. Virgil has been particularly active with the Spiritual Life Committee, the Men’s Bible Study, the Glimmerings Group, the Healthcare Singers, and attended many musical and special performances.

He is survived by his three devoted children, Daryl Wagner, Kara Wagner Brown (Wilson Brown), and Kristin Wagner, and his three grandchildren Kate Alice Brown, Dan Brown (Maddie Kelleher), and Nick Brown as well as several beloved nieces, nephews, and their children. He will be missed by his family and the many friends he cherished during his lifetime.

Virgil was predeceased by his wife, his parents, his brother, and Margaret’s parents, her sister and husband, her brother and wife, and a nephew.

A memorial service celebrating his life and resurrection will be held Friday, March 22 at 3:00 pm at Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge in Charlottesville, VA. Reception will follow. His ashes will be scattered in the Duck Run Memorial Garden in the Blue Ridge Mountains the following day.

In lieu of flowers please offer a memorial to your choice of:

Dementia Action Alliance (

Lutheran Church of America (

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (

Charlottesville Municipal Band (

Cards can be sent to 250 Pantops Mt Rd #5104, Charlottesville, Va 22911