Michael P. Wagner

Michael P. Wagner, 68, passed away on Tuesday January 12, 2021 in his home.

Michael was born on April 4, 1952 to Chester and Pauline in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Michael graduated from Eau Claire Memorial High School. He was a natural athlete, excelling in a wide variety of sports, passions he carried with him throughout life. He competed in golf at a very high level and bowled a number of perfect games. Michael spent many years in the family business, Wagner’s 66 and 1/2 lanes, working alongside his father Chet.

Michael married Cheryl Wagner (Bauch) in 1990 and the two later divorced. They had two children, Nolan and Aaron. His favorite place was Lake Melissa in Detroit Lakes, where he had his best childhood memories, and created many happy memories for those he shared time with at the lake. He loved to spend time on the boat, whether it was relaxing on the pontoon, fishing, skiing, or taking the kids tubing.

With his upbeat demeanor, Michael was great company to be around and always maintained an exceptional sense of humor. He had a nickname for everyone, which he used in an affectionate way. Many of the people close to him remember him as a man full of generosity and kindness.

He was loved and will be dearly missed.

Michael is survived by his children, Nolan Wagner of Altoona, Wisconsin and Aaron Wagner of Rochester, New York; dear friend, Michael(Tina) Longsdorf; his two sisters, Dian(David) Naugle of Inverness, Illinois and Sandy(Ronald) Buchholz of Plainfield, Illinois; nephews, Patrick Naugle, Michael Naugle, Josh Buchholz, and Joel Buchholz; nieces, Jodie Panapa, and Darcy Lien; and in-laws, Paula and Mike Haroldson, Troy and Sharla Bauch, and Gregg and Anne Bauch.

A visitation will be Sunday, January 17, 2021 from 11:00am to 1:00pm at Smith Funeral Chapel, in Eau Claire, WI. Friends and family may leave online condolences at www.smithfuneralec.com


  1. So. Sorry to hear of Mike’s passing ! I have many great memories of time spent with Mike on the bowling lanes and the golf course ! I always considered Mike a great friend ! R.I.P. Thoughts and prayers to the family!

  2. Thank you for always taking the time to talk to me and my family. Whether we were at Wagner’s on the “green side,” or at the grocery store, you always said hello and stayed to talk. It looks like it’s time for you to pick up your favorite bowling ball and have at it. Rest easy, Mike.

  3. Peg and I are so sad to hear of Mike’s passing. Our prayers and condolences to the family, especially his boys.

  4. To the Family of Big Mike Wagner
    I’m proud to say I was a friend of Mike. I worked with Mike at the Down Under Bar and have many great memories. Back then Mike’s intentions, most of the time were to enjoy his friends, laugh and live each day to the fullest during work and after work, and we did. One day Mike, Tim and a guy named Roger decided to rent a house in Altoona. We lived there for a year or two and really enjoyed the camaraderie and life’s experience’s. Mike you are missed, thankyou for being you.

  5. Dian and Sandy,
    So sad to hear of Mike’s passing. Always a smile on his face, and outgoing personality. Our deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  6. Dian & Sandy:: So sorry for your loss. I remember the good times we had growing up in Pine Place, JR bowling and going to your cottage In Detriot Lakes. So many good memiries.

  7. In the fall of 1976, when I emigrated to the USA, I was unable to work on account of license issues. I had been a bartender in grad school and Chet offered me a job. In my home country, folks drank beer ( only one kind), wine or shots. When the waitress Lorraine barked her first order to me (” a leinies, olies and screwdriver) she might as well have talked chinese. I felt overwhelmed and there was this young Wagner who in the days to follow not only helped me out, but in a kind and invisible way so it seemed I was doing just fine. I will never forget his gentleness. Dr. Smets

  8. Dian & Sandy: Sorry for your loss.I have many good memories of growing up in Pine Place and going to your cottage in Detriot.

  9. Dian and Sandy please know our thoughts are with you during this sad time. We will keep you and family in our prayers.

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