Raymond C. Wagman was born on April 7, 1934 to Joseph and Anna (Soukup) Wagman 5 miles southeast of O’Neill at the family home. He was one of three children.
In the spring of 1935, the Wagman family moved two miles from this location. In 1936, the family moved 6 miles east and ½ mile south of Atkinson and in 1940 they moved 6 miles east and 1 and ¼ miles north of Atkinson. Ray went to country school near Atkinson through the 8th grade then attended St. Joseph’s High School where he graduated in 1951.
Ray enlisted into the Navy on January 2, 1956. He went to basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois then was sent to Hawaii where he boarded the Yorktown. From there they sailed to Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. In May of 1956 aboard the ship a Freon valve broke while they were overseas in Japan. “Pop”, his boss on the ship, asked for volunteers to go down to try and fix the problem. Ray volunteered and was nearly killed by the gas. He spent 264 days in the hospital. He was discharged from the Navy on December 7, 1957.
In 1968, Wagman's sold their place and moved to a ranch twenty miles northwest of Stuart along the Niobrara River. From Ray’s injuries while in the Navy, his Dad thought it would be easier for him to ranch than farm, which was what they did when living near Atkinson. They sold the ranch in 1978 and moved to the town of Stuart, NE. Ray lived in town until he purchased his own place south of Stuart in 1985. He lived there until 2008 when he sold the place and moved to Elkhorn Meadows in Atkinson, where he lived until October of 2009.
In October of 2009 he moved to Prairie Winds Assisted Living in Atkinson where he met the love of his life Mary (Seger) Braun. Their courtship started with Ray promising to take Mary to Sunday Mass. Ray and Mary were married on February 27, 2016 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Atkinson. Together they enjoyed attending Mass together, taking rides in the country, playing cards, and just spending time together.
Later it became necessary for Ray to move to Good Samaritan Center because due to declining health, Mary moved with him and they continued to enjoy each other’s company until Ray passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 14, 2017.
Ray is survived by his wife Mary of Atkinson; step daughters Brenda Kerkman and her husband Keith of Atkinson and Laura Braun of Atkinson; 3 grandchildren Bryce, Reghan, and Brinley Kerkman all of Atkinson; one sister Mary Longwell of Omaha, NE; and many friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, and infant sister.
Wednesday May 17, 2017 at 10:30 am at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Atkinson, NE
Visitation: Tuesday May 16, 2017 from 5pm to 8pm at Seger Funeral Home in Atkinson with a 7pm Rosary Tuesday evening Burial in the St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Atkinson, NE with military graveside services by the Atkinson American Legion Post