Memorial service held for war vet, former bowling center owner

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A decorated war veteran and well known Eau Claire business man is remembered at a memorial service on Wednesday.

Arthur "Stir" Wagner was a man known to befriend strangers who came to bowl at Wagner's. He was also one of the last remaining World War II veterans. He died last Thursday at the age of 95.

There weren't many dry eyes at the memorial service at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Eau Claire. Family, friends, veterans and even people who bowled at Wagner's when Wagner was co-owner was present.

"He was always so considerate and caring and concerned and just was a great, great man," said former General Brigadier Andrew Schuster for Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Schuster remembers his fellow veteran as Colonel Wagner.

"He just had this presence about him, never really talked about his past like many from his generation, World War II and all the campaigns that he fought in and then in 1961, 62 going to Ft. Louis with the Berlin crisis," said Schuster.

Take a walk down memory lane and the bowling lane. It was in 1948, Stir and his two brothers built Wagner's on Brackett Ave.

"It was quite interesting on how he built the business up through the 66 1/2 lanes that they had at one time, they had great tournaments there that I had participated in," said Steve Hanson, the president of the Bowling Proprietors Association of Wisconsin.

Hanson said he became manager when Wagner's was sold in 2003. Even after the transition, Wagner bowled competitively, even as recently as last season.

"Having both knees replaced twice, he was still out there bowling at least one night, late shift and he'd take his one step and get the ball down the lane and carry a 160 average," said Hanson.

In 2006, Wagner was inducted into the Army National Guard Hall of Honor.

"He was very typical of that greatest generation where they came back and they didn't talk about if they had ailments and they would just bust it up and they just went about doing their work and raising his family. He lived a full life and we'll miss him so very, very much," said Schuster.

According to his obituary Arthur is survived by his wife, children and 75 grandchildren and great grandchildren. His family asks everyone to thank a veteran today for their service in honor of Arthur "Stir" Wagner.

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