Gordon was born on June 15, 1914 in Redcliff, Alberta. Although some biographical information lists his place of birth as Markinch, Saskatchewan, Gordon listed his birth place as Alberta while acknowledging he spent many years growing up in Markinch, attending elementary and high school there before graduating from the University of Saskatchewan in 1938. Following university, Gordon accepted work in the nickel mines of Sudbury, Ontario but with the outbreak of World War 2, Gordon left the mines to join the Royal Canadian Air Force in Regina, Saskatchewan. Before ‘shipping out’ in 1941, Gordon married Ivy Madelaine Harvey. Following the war, Gordon returned to Canada where he and Ivy settled into life on Vancouver Island where Gordon became well known as a land surveyor.
Gordon retired in 1980, a lifetime member of the BC Land Surveyors society where Gordon was registered as member number 314. In 1976, his son, Gordon Keith Wagner would also become a member of the society, number 547. Sadly, Gordon’s son, known by his middle name of Keith, passed away in 1978 two days before his 36th birthday of cancer. In 1979, Gordon and Ivy established the Keith Wagner Memorial Bursary for eligible Comox Valley second year Geomatics Technology students at the BC IT Foundation.
Following his retirement from land surveying, Gordon pursued his interest in history, particularly family history! I’m fortunate to have a copy of the work that he completed, tracing his Wagner and Faulkner ancestors. His genealogical work is remarkable given that he completed it without the modern aids of computers, specialized software and on-line databases. The pre-computer and pre-Internet days of genealogy that I began my research in, and in which Gordon completed his, did not provide instant access to records. Rather, forms were completed and mailed to government departments and repositories, information was kept on hand written forms and charts – an often very long process that required patience (something I don’t think I ever quite fully developed). In 1990 and 1991, Gordon donated much of the original family history source materials he had gather to the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The University of Waterloo was chosen due to its proximity to the location of the original 1840’s Wagner family settlement. The documents collected and donated by Gordon continue to remain available to researchers through the university’s special collections area.