Ogdensburg’s Wager turning 100 Sunday

Imogene Wager on the day of her wedding in June of 1946. Wager is turning 100 on Sunday. Submitted photo

OGDENSBURG — An Ogdensburg woman will be celebrating her 100th birthday Sunday and St. John’s Church will be hosting an open house to mark this special event.

Imogene Eliza Wager, a lifelong Ogdensburg resident and parishioner of St. John’s Church, will be turning 100, and Rev. Carolyn Bartkus says that all are welcome to share best wishes and enjoy some refreshments as they celebrate with in Parish Hall at St. John’s Church on Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

“We are just asking for best wishes. People that know her or Leslie or her family please stop by and give her well wishes,” said Rev. Bartkus.

Rev. Bartkus, who has been at St. John’s since November 2019, regularly visits Wager at her home since she cannot make it to church like she once did.

“I regularly go and visit her because she is a lifelong parishioner. I take her communion and everything from the church, constantly sending out love and making her feel like she is still part of the parish. She has been remarkable and she has been very engaged,” said Rev. Bartkus.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Imogene Wolfe married her husband, Leslie Wager, in June of 1946. The couple owned and operated a veterinary practice in Ogdensburg for decades. While Mr. Wager responded to calls and took care of the animals, Mrs. Wager took care of the office, answered calls and handled the billing.

The couple had three children; a son, Sandy who passed away as a teenager; Jeff who died in 2018 and Susan Insel, who lives in Fulton. Mr. Wager passed away in March of 2016, he was 96.

Wager has five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Insel said that her brother, Jeff, was diagnosed with mental illness when he was a young man, and that led to her mother being a champion of the mentally ill in the Ogdensburg area. She was elected to the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center’s Board of Visitors and had been on the board for a number of decades, according to Insel.

“She dedicated her life to the care for the mentally ill,” said Insel, “She literally was an angel for the mentally ill. I cannot imagine the lives and hearts she touched over the years.”

Insel said that her mother has been a longtime member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

While she tried many times to get her mother to move away from Ogdensburg, she never would, according to her daughter.

“She is extremely dedicated to the city of Ogdensburg, her family and to the mentally ill,” said Insel.

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