Samuel L. “Sam” Wagster went to the loving arms of Jesus on Friday, June 23, 2017, at age 77. Sam was born in Cooter, Missouri, in 1939.
He graduated from the University of Memphis and moved to Winter Garden to teach English at Lakeview High School in 1962. He later decided to become a guidance counselor and graduated from Rollins with a master’s degree in 1974.
He remained at Lakeview as it became a junior high and then a middle school. His teaching career spanned 42 years. He was loved by his students and respected as a devoted, caring teacher, counselor and tireless advocate for children.
Sam met and married his wife, Marian, in 1967.
During his years at Lakeview, Sam served as American Institute for Foreign Studies group leader, Student Council chair, basketball coach, drama coach, band parent volunteer, Honor Society chair, music advocate and chair of the Guidance Department.
As a member of Orange County Counseling Association, he was a finalist for the Orange County 2002 Children Must Count Award and additionally won several Outstanding Service Awards.
In our community, Sam was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden for 50 years, serving as Sunday School teacher, member of the Chancel Choir, the Praise Team, the Handbell Choir, the Administrative Board, the Missions Team, United Methodist Men and Walk to Emmaus and on countless committees.
He was a leader with Boy Scouts and Indian Princesses and joined his wife singing with Orlando Opera Company’s “Camerata Chorus” for many years.
In addition, Sam was a founding member of the Garden Community Choir and “Sounds Like Chicken” barbershop singers. In his retirement, he gave more than 2,000 hours as a volunteer at Health Central Hospital.
Sam is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marian Alice; two children, Blake Everett and Shannon Elizabeth; his brother, Dallas Wagster; daughter-in-law, Melissa Wagster; grandchildren, Bradley, Amirah, Summer, Sammy and Aisin Wagster; his sisters-in law, Carolyn Looney and Phyllis Eury; and nephews and nieces, Chris Looney, MaryBeth Petrino, Brandon Looney, Ryan Eury, Kyle Eury, Seth Eury, Devin Berna and Kalyn Eury.
To our Winter Garden friends: We have been blessed beyond measure to have had 50 years of love together. Can you imagine Sam’s JOY as he witnesses God’s overwhelming glory? Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support and your many acts of kindness.
A communitywide Memorial Service for Sam is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, July 8, at the First United Methodist Church of Winter Garden with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Sam’s name for the new First United Methodist Memorial Garden.