Cover photo for Catherine Wagner's Obituary
Catherine Wagner Profile Photo
1929 Catherine 2021

Catherine Wagner

September 9, 1929 — February 21, 2021

Catherine (Kay) Wagner, nee Feeley

Catherine Wagner passed away on Sunday, February 21, of age-related conditions. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Frank Wagner. She is survived by their children: Catherine, Frank (Mary Bunker,) Mary Clare, and Monica (Dennis) Runyan. She was the proud and loving grandmother of Emily Back; Caroline, Lucy, Eileen, and Annie Kate Kull; and of Frank Wagner, III.

Kay was born in Chicago in 1929, where she graduated from Visitation High School and St. Xavier College, majoring in mathematics. In 1953, she graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a master's degree in mathematics. The Chicago Tribune noted that Kay was the first woman to attend and receive a degree from Notre Dame. Following her graduation, Kay worked as a mathematician at The Institute for Air Weapons Research at the University of Chicago and studied for her doctorate. In 1959, she married Frank Wagner, whom she had met at Notre Dame when he was a doctoral student there. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Frank and Kay both taught mathematics, he at Marquette University and Kay at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Following the birth of their first child they moved to Cincinnati, where Frank taught at the University of Cincinnati and Kay stayed home while the couple had three more children. During those years, Kay received a master's degree from the University of Cincinnati in special education, exploring an interest in dyslexia. She was a founding member of the Cincinnati branch of the International Dyslexia Society, and later a member of the international board of directors of that organization.

Kay served as Director of Special Services at the Wyoming School District for 15 years before returning to mathematics as an instructor at Northern Kentucky University. After retiring from NKU, she devoted many years to teaching dyslexic adults to read through the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, preparing underserved high school and GED students for their mathematics tests, and tutoring residents of the Lebanon Correctional Institution. She was a board member of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati for many years.

Kay so enjoyed her bridge friends from the University of Cincinnati Women's Club and her 70-year friendship with the "club girls" of Chicago!

A funeral mass will be held at Nativity of Our Lord parish on Wednesday, March 3, at 10:00am.

Remembrances may be sent to Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Catherine Wagner, please visit our flower store.


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