Gladys Wagner, 1928-2016

Published 9:24 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Funeral services for Gladys I. Wagner, of Albert Lea will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at United Methodist Church in Albert Lea. The Rev. John Mitchem will officiate. Interment will be at Hillcrest Cemetery. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday.  Bayview/Freeborn Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements. Online condolences are welcome at

Gladys Wagner

Gladys Wagner

Gladys died Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community. She was 87.

Gladys Irene Sorensen was born Nov. 29, 1928, at Albert Lea, the daughter of Viggo and Emma (Larson) Sorensen. She grew up in Alden and graduated from high school there in 1946. She continued her education at Naeve Hospital School of Nursing, where she earned a baccalaureate registered nurse degree in May 1949.

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On Nov. 24, 1949, Gladys was united in marriage to Russel J. Peterson at First Baptist Church in Clarks Grove. They were the parents of two sons, Gary and Paul. Russel passed away in 1960.

Gladys married Harley I. Wagner Nov. 2, 1968 in Albert Lea. Harley had been a widower with three sons: Ron, Rob and Steve. A daughter Lori was added a year later. Gladys referred to her blended family as “yours, mine and ours.” Harley passed away in 1993.

Gladys enjoyed a nursing career that spanned over 40 years. She worked at Naeve Hospital, in public health and as night supervisor at St. John’s Lutheran Community. She was active in the Naeve Nurses and Alumni Club, serving as secretary for many years.

In her retirement years, she enjoyed traveling to Europe and Mexico. She also liked going on bus trips to theater productions in the Twin Cities. Gladys spent many happy hours working on jigsaw puzzles with her friends at Lake Chapeau Condos. She was a fine cook and equally talented at needlepoint, hardanger and crocheting. She was a tireless church worker and served on many committees; always willing to help when called upon.

Gladys is survived by her son, Paul (Rita Marie) of Albert Lea; daughter, Lori Wagner Tauchnitz of Austin; stepsons Robert Wagner (Julie) of Cottage Grove and Steve Wagner (Chris) of Duluth; 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two sisters-in-law, Dorothy Sorensen of River Falls, Wisconsin, and Shirley Peterson of Albert Lea; daughter-in-law, Jan Larson of Excelsior; and lifelong special friends Phyllis Jensen and Beverly McMullin.

Gladys was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Russel Peterson; son, Gary Peterson; husband, Harley Wagner; her brother, Chuck Sorensen; and stepson, Ronald Wagner.

Gladys had a generous and caring heart. She practiced kindness in her words and actions and believed that angels guided our paths.

“See I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20