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Lives, Lived: Wood & "Betty" Wagner

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Norwood Oliver Wagner was born in Slatington (Lehigh County Pennsylvania) on Christmas Day, December 1911 to George P. Wagner and Kate Wagner, nee Rex. George was 21 and Kate was 24; Norwood, or "Woody" as he would be known, was their first child. A brother, Donald, followed in 1917.

According to his birth certificate, Woody's mother Kate at the time of delivery was working in a Slate Factory. In this United States Census from 1920, we find that Kate is no longer employed while George is listed as a "Stationary Engineer" at a "Boat Works".

Not much changes in the 1930 Census; from all accounts it seems the Wagner's had a steady income and stable family unit. In the 1940 Census we learn that Wagner, now aged 28 years, was a "Stenographer" at "Electric Power". Little brother Donald is not listed as residing in the home.

In October of 1940, Woody would enlist with the U.S Military. He was recorded as having grey eyes, brown hair and 5'8''. This application for Veteran's Compensation from 1950 tells us more about Woody's time served.

Woody's wife and pen-pal, Ruth E. Sandel, was born in 1918 to Edgar Sandel and Ruth E. Sandel, nee App. Edgar was 25 at the time of his only daughter's birth, while her mother Ruth was 24. The 1920 Census in which we see Ruth first recorded marks that Edgar is working as a "Draughtsman" for the Railroad.

Not much changes in the next 10 years according to the 1930 Census. In 1940 we learn that Ruth has completed one year of College. It appears that by the time Woody writes "Betty" from the front, they have already been married. They would go on to have no children of their own, however, Ruth would become the music teacher and Glee Club Director for Moravian Preparatory. (See below, upper left.)

Norwood would die on November 6th, 1999 at the age of 88 and Ruth would follow on October 6, 2006 also aged 88.

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