Mardell (Mert) David Wagner passed away on Monday, October 14, 2019, a week before his 89th birthday, at his home for 59 years in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
Mert was born to Rev. Norman Wagner and Mildred Derr Wagner, in Centralia, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1930. He has a sister, Norma Albright (Duncansville, Pa.) and a brother, Joseph Wagner (deceased). He is survived by his ex-wife of 24 years, Nan Maney, Defuniak Springs, Fl. and their three children, Kitty Wagner Spilman (Jim) of Jacksonville, Fl., David Wagner (Karen), Lynn Haven, Fl. and Carol Wagner, Fort Walton Beach, Fl. He has two grandchildren, Katie Spilman Mette (Alex) and David Wagner, Jr.
Raised in Pennsylvania where his father was a Methodist Minister, he graduated from high school in Hollidaysburg, Pa. in 1948. He then attended and graduated from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa. in 1953 with a B.A. Math & Science, majoring in physics and minoring in psychology.
Living in bases in the U.S. and Germany, Mert served in the Army as a Ballistic Meteorologist from 1953 to 1955. He married Nan Maney in 1954. Mert was a graduate student in physics at Penn State University until 1956. Afterwards, Mert was hired by the National Bureau of Standards, Department of Commerce, in Washington, D.C. to perform research in electron physics. In 1960, he moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Fl. and was hired by the Department of Defense as Director of Development of Mobile Weapons System for Air Base Defense. He was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his work. Mert retired in 1986 after a long and fulfilling career.
Mert became well known for his work as a free-lance photographer and member of many organizations in Fort Walton Beach and surrounding areas. He was involved with The First Presbyterian Church, Billy Bowlegs, Chamber of Commerce and much more. He was beloved by all who knew him. He never said no to helping others. He was a talented photographer, avid golfer and tennis player and he knew his way around the piano keys. He was a dedicated father and genuine in everything he did. As Mert always said, “Whatever you do, smile, be nice to somebody (even if it’s yourself), and have a happy, happy day!” He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Services will be provided by Heritage Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery in Niceville, Florida on Friday, October 18 with visitation from noon until 1:00pm and a Graveside service immediately following. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the American Cancer Society, one of Mert’s many charities.
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