- Ada, Oklahoma

March 20, 2013

Wife of former ECU president dies in North Carolina

The Ada News

Greenville, NC —  

Diana Mills Wagner, wife of the former president of East Central University in Ada, Okla., died in Greenville, N.C., March 16, 2013, after a period of declining health. She was 91.

Mrs. Wagner was an English war bride, marrying Stanley Paul Wagner in her parish church in Cheshunt, England, Oct. 20, 1945. She served during World War II with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and was posted to the anti-aircraft headquarters in London.

She met her husband-to-be at a Red Cross center at Piccadilly Circus in London in the fall of 1945, after the war was over, while he was attending Shrivenham American University. He left the U.S. Army following the end of World War II, and after their marriage, she came to the United States on the Queen Mary in the spring of 1946 to join him in Ambridge, Pa.

He started a career in higher education, and she moved with him to Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio; Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.; Oklahoma City University and the system of state colleges in Minnesota. She had become an American citizen and earned a bachelor’s degree in English at Allegheny College.

She taught English at Meadville High School and later at Harding High School in Oklahoma City. They moved to Ada in 1969 when he became president at East Central State College, and they remained in Ada after his retirement in 1988.

She was active in the Ada community, serving on the vestry at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and singing in the choir, participating in the Fortnightly Study Club and Wednesday Morning Music Club and Delta Kappa Gamma educators sorority.

They moved to North Carolina in 2006, living in New Bern and Greenville. 

In addition to her husband, she is survived by her daughter, Dr. Kathleen A. Lawler Row, recently retired chairman of the Department of Psychology at East Carolina University, and a grandson, Andrew Joseph Lawler of Knoxville, Tenn.