Roger Kenneth Wangen
Wangen, Roger Kenneth 82, died of Alzheimer's disease Nov. 23, 2017, in St. Paul. Born Feb. 20, 1935 in Albert Lea, MN to Leonard and Dolores (Kipp) Wangen. Roger lived in Battle Creek, MI; Minnetonka, Minneapolis, and St. Louis Park, MN. Farewell to the very funny and caring dad that enriched our lives. He instilled in us an appreciation for the humor one can find in most moments and a deep appreciation for people from many different cultures and backgrounds gleaned in his years as a civil rights advocate, education advocate (social sciences, economics, and international), and world traveler (beginning with Army service right after high school). His curiosity about peoples' differences and willingness to ask questions, even when somewhat awkward, was a great unifier and antidote for fear of the unfamiliar. He loved travel and, with our mother, there were many trips all over the globe, bike trips, and winters on Sanibel Island once retired from the MN Department of Education. He loved people. In addition to reaching out to meet new people throughout his life, he embraced a role as a father figure to his two nieces Grace and Maria. A steadfast partner in our mother's two battles with cancer, he was her constant companion in her waning days. Finally, he enjoyed a practice of yoga and meditation started later in life and, as a former baseball pitcher, he also enjoyed watching sports into his last days. Roger was the neighbor with the immense tool collection, who happily loaned them out and loved fixing/tinkering. Many thanks to the home care team that cared for him and our mother as she declined in 2015 and to the staff at the Alton Memory Care who took such good care of him in the last 18 months as his life got more complicated in some ways and yet more simple in others. His sense of humor was often apparent even as things got more confusing for him. Thanks also to Our Lady of Peace hospice team and special family friend Joy Mudgett. We are glad people that were new to him during this time had the opportunity to see his humor and his love of people to counter some bumpy times toward the end. Predeceased by his parents; sisters Ruth Groff and Margaret Kenevan; and wife, Nancy Register Wangen. Survived by daughters Chris Wangen (Tom Plunkett), St. Paul, and Dr. Kerry Wangen, Long Beach, CA; sister-in-law Cheri Register and her daughters, Grace and Maria. A family celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorials to charities of your choice promoting global education or human/civil rights.
Published on December 3, 2017
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