War veteran, former bowling center owner dies

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A memorial service for a decorated World War II veteran and former co-owner of two bowling centers in Eau Claire is next week.

Arthur "Stir" Wagner died on Thursday at age 95. He was a colonel in World War II, and witnessed the Berlin crisis of 1961. In 2006, he was inducted into the Army National Guard Hall of Honor.

"If there was problems, you wanted him on your side," his nephew Mike Wagner said. "He was one strong man. People always liked to come in and see him. They said hi to him."

He and his brothers, Chet and Kenneth, built the bowling center Wagner's on Brackett Avenue in 1948. They rebuilt after a fire in 1977, and expanded until it had 66 1/2 lanes. The Wagners dismantled part of the complex that housed 40 lanes in 2000, then sold the side with 26 lanes in 2003. It operates as Wagner's Lanes today. The Wagners also owned Wagner's West on North Clairemont Avenue, which is Bowlwinkles now. Wagner himself bowled competitively as recently as last season. Kenneth "Budge" Wagner died in 1990. Chet Wagner died two years ago.

A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Wednesday, August 20 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Visitation is Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Evergreen Funeral Home, and also an hour before Mass at church.