Jennifer Kay Wagner, 53
Jennifer Kay Wagner left us on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, to join her Dad, Port, and Nana, Rosemary, who helped shape her life. She was born in Grangeville, Idaho, on Oct. 30, 1964, and lived there until she graduated from high school.
From the beginning, her positive determined nature took shape. When she was five, she decided to run away and live with the buffalo in a pasture close by. So, her mom filled her bag with canned goods so she wouldn’t starve. Jennifer dragged it as far as the mailbox and her dad was there, and he said, “Get inside. You know we eat at five.”
Jennifer was a natural athlete and she grew up in a family that believed women had equal rights. When she was ten, she and a friend went to the grade school principal and won their case to participate in the boy’s punt, pass and kick contest. She came in third. She excelled and won state in mixed tennis doubles and played a respectable game of golf with her Dad, but when it was time to make a choice she chose basketball. Jennifer and her high school teammates, in two consecutive years, beat Moscow High and its star, Andrea Lloyd, the best female basketball player in the history of Idaho; the only losses Lloyd suffered in her last two years of high school.
Jennifer then earned a scholarship to North Idaho College and starred on a team that qualified for the National Junior College Basketball Championships in Mississippi. She was named a West Region All Star and was offered a full-ride scholarship to continue on to the University of Montana, which she eventually turned down. She went on to Boise State University to continue her education.
In Boise, she started her career in sales. She worked a number of jobs in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and as far away as Florida, making friends all along the way. Her bubbly personality, gift for gab and ability to show genuine interest in her business acquaintances made her a natural and successful salesperson. More than one observer used the phrase, “she could sell ice cubes to Eskimos” to describe her. She continued her lifelong love of sports, excelling in golf, tennis, softball, soccer, skiing, waterskiing, barrel racing and just about everything else she tried.
Jennifer never married, but had loving people in her life until her untimely passing from cancer. She suffered a life-changing medical crisis in 2009, teetering on the edge of the death predicted for her by all her medical professionals, but was miraculously loved back to life by her mother, Poofy.
Jennifer spent the last eight years of her life embracing the AA recovery community where she shared great friendships and served as an exemplary role model and inspiration for many. She said, “you have to do the work.” She did the work and won. Her support group in Coeur d’Alene were remarkable, along with her friends and family.
She was preceded in death by her biggest sports fan, her dad, Al “Port” Wagner Jr.
She leaves behind her mother, Poofy Wagner; uncle, John; brother, Chris, and his daughter, Sienna, all of Grangeville; aunt, Linda, of San Antonio, Texas; sister, Lisa Wagner Jones, her husband, Rory, and their sons, Riley and Garrett; sister, Jody Mallane, her husband, Chris, and their sons, Max, Sam and Wilson, all of Boise; brother, Jeff, and his partner, Kevin, of Walla Walla, Wash.; and sister, Rachel Kincheloe, her husband, Steve, and their sons, Kincade, Mason and Hayden, of Caldwell, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to a scholarship being established at Grangeville High School for a deserving female athlete to be given annually in Jennifer’s name.
A viewing will take from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at the Blackmer Funeral Home, in Grangeville. A Rosary will be celebrated at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at the Blue Fox Theatre, in Grangeville. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, at Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Grangeville, Idaho. Burial will follow at Prairie View Cemetery in Grangeville. Arrangements are under the direction of the Blackmer Funeral Home of Grangeville. Send condolences for the family to www.blackmerfuneralhome.com.