Robert Clair Wagner, founder of Capitol Aluminum & Glass Corporation of Bellevue, passed away peacefully at the Willows on May 11, 2020. He was 92.
Mr. Wagner was born on July 10, 1927 in Bellevue to Ralph and Lutie (Wilt) Wagner. Starting at the age of 5, he would deliver milk from the family dairy farm before school, learning the importance of hard work and education. Following his graduation from York High School in 1945, he enlisted in the US Navy and serving until May 1946. In 1950, he completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Education at Ohio University. In 1950 at the outset of the Korean War, he again entered the US Navy and served in the Air Reserve until April 1952. Mr. Wagner completed a Master of Arts degree in Industrial Psychology in 1951 from The Ohio State University where his thesis concerned the effects of speed and load on human performance in early military jet aircraft. He continued to perform research in these areas at Ohio State through 1953 under funding from the US Air Force.
In 1953, Mr. Wagner began work in Columbus at the Nationwide Insurance Company as a Computer Development Specialist. It was here he met the love of his life, Joanna Ley. They married 6 months later, on September 18, 1954. The young couple moved to Bellevue shortly after their marriage. In 1956, the Wagner’s established Capitol Aluminum Products Company, specializing first with home improvement products. The company would later become Capitol Aluminum and Glass Corporation in 1968 and focus on large commercial and government renovation and new construction projects in Ohio and surrounding states. Mr. Wagner holds patents on several door and window designs and assembly machines. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Aluminum until 1991, remaining as Chairman of the Board until his death. He served, in the 1960’s, as a consultant for both ALCOA and BF Goodrich companies. He was also a Director of the Union Bank, in Bellevue. Following the death of Joanna, he reconnected with his high school sweetheart and subsequently married, Joyce Korndorfer Whitbeck.
Mr. Wagner was active in many local school and community projects and groups. He was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and then later St. John’s Lutheran Church, both of Bellevue. He was selected Bellevue Jaycee’s Man of the Year in 1961. He served briefly on the board of York School and with others was instrumental in the consolidation of York and other rural school districts with the Bellevue City School District in 1968. Mr. Wagner was a long-term member of the Bellevue Kiwanis Club, serving as president in 1969. In 2001, he was selected by Kiwanis International as a Diamond Level George F. Hixson Fellow for his contributions to the Children’s Fund. He and Joanna supported community projects including the building of Bellevue Community Center and the Bellevue Hospital. Mr. Wagner was passionate in building and maintaining the aluminum crosses for fallen servicemen at Bellevue Cemetery. He received the Industry Founders Award from the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce in 2018. In his free time, he enjoyed watching Ohio State football and Cleveland Indians baseball, traveling, researching genealogy, model railroading, and doing home improvement projects.
Mr. Wagner is survived by his children: R. Mark (Wanda) Wagner of Tucson; Diane (John) Hiratsuka of Tucson; Richard Wagner of Bellevue, and Gail (Harry) Coe of Clyde; eight grandchildren: Megan Wagner of Tucson, Phillip (Jessica) Wagner of North Ridgeville, Andrew Wagner of Tucson, Tim (Bronwyn) Larsen of Tucson, Nicholas Hiratsuka of Tucson, Joshua Coe of Burke, Virginia, Zachary Coe of Bellevue, and Zackary Knauss of Bellevue; and two great grandchildren: Brooke Larsen of Tucson and Hadley Wagner of North Ridgeville.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 48 years Joanna Ley Wagner, 2nd wife of 9 years Joyce Korndorfer Whitbeck Wagner, his parents Ralph and Lutie Wagner, sisters Clara Thompson Cushman and Violet Duncan, one brother Ralph F. Wagner, and a daughter-in-law Tamara Wagner.
A graveside service will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at York Chapel Cemetery, County Road 292, Bellevue. Foos & Foos Funeral Service, Bellevue is in care of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bellevue Historical Society, P.O. Box 304, Bellevue, Ohio or the American Legion Post 46, 208 West Main Street, Bellevue for maintenance of the Veteran’s Section of Bellevue Cemetery.
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Bellevue Historical Society
PO Box 34, Bellevue OH 44811