Nena Jo (Hamby) Wagner
Nena Jo (Hamby) Wagner, 84, died on April 23, 2021, surrounded by loving family members. Nena was born on December 30, 1936 in Albertville, Alabama, to James Terry and Emma Jean (Silas) Hamby, and was the eldest of four siblings. At the age of 16, Nena and her family moved to Toledo, Ohio, where both of her parents worked in the automotive industry. After graduating from Woodward High School, she attended the University of Toledo. Nena began her career at Surface Combustion Co., followed by General Tire’s Textileather Division, where she met her future husband, James E. “Jim” Wagner, to whom she was wonderfully married for 55 wonderful years.
Nena and Jim had three children and seven grandchildren. Her unconditional and limitless love for her family was evident to everyone who knew her. She took an active role in her children’s lives in many ways, including the Scout Cave mother, Girl Scout Director, Southview High School band booster, and the all-round enthusiastic supporter of her diverse activities and interests. As a beloved “Nana” she was especially proud of her grandchildren and enjoyed every moment she spent with them. She participated in and supported their activities to make each child feel unique and special. Nena was a strong advocate of higher education and was so proud of her children’s and grandchildren’s decision to graduate from college.
Nena’s greatest joy was her family, and the time they spent together was precious to her. She and Jim took annual family vacations in the United States, frequently visiting national parks and monuments. They even competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. In 1991, on their 25th wedding anniversary, Nena and Jim discovered their love for international travel on a Mediterranean cruise. They were fortunate enough to travel extensively through Europe – often with family or friends – during their retirement, including England, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy, as well as China, Kenya and Trinidad and Tobago.
At home in Toledo OH (1968-73), Conroe TX (1973-76) and Sylvania OH (1976-2021), Nena was a dear friend, neighbor and colleague to many. Over the years she has served in administrative and financial functions for the Northwest Ohio Epilepsy Center, Oakleaf Village Assisted Living, and Macy’s Department Store, as well as a glass blower, insurance agent, physical therapist, and public relations firm. Nena’s belief was very important to her. She was an active member of the Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo, where she served a deacon, Stephen Minister, and a member of the Department of Women. She has also been a dedicated Bible Study Fellowship participant, mission / outreach volunteer and organizer of the Church’s annual “Flea Market” fundraiser.
Nena was led to her death by her parents James T. and Emma Jean Hamby and her in-laws Howard G. and Margaret Wagner, and was survived by her loving and devoted husband, Jim Wagner, who is 55 years old. by their children Kristina Wagner Moore and partner Andrew Karaffa from Georgetown, TX, Melinda Wagner Arrigo from Toledo OH, Eric Wagner and wife Suzy from Arlington, VA; and (nephew) Daniel Hamby of Syracuse IN; and from their beloved grandchildren Katie and Jackson Moore, Lucy and Tallula Arrigo, and Christopher, Gillian and Matthew Wagner. She is also survived by her siblings Nelda Hawkins of Oneonta AL, James Edward (Faye) Hamby of Swanton OH, and Jimmy Ronald Hamby of Syracuse IN; from her in-laws Patricia Danca from New York, Robert Wagner from New York and Howard (Joanne) Wagner from the Netherlands; of numerous nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren; as well as from her myriad friends.
Nena Jo (Hamby) Wagner was very much loved and will be missed by everyone who knew her. A celebration of Nena’s life will be held at a later date so that as many of her friends and family members as possible can safely attend. Instead of flowers, you can make a donation to the Hospice in Northwest Ohio or the Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo, Ohio. Arrangements from Walker Funeral Home, Toledo, OH (419-841-2422).
Posted in The Blade on May 2, 2021.