Richard Vagts, 94, of Alleman, Iowa died Friday, October 4, 2019. Richard Loren Vagts was born on a farm near Eldorado on December 18, 1924 to Ewald Henry and Anna Eleanor (Pape) Vagts. He was baptized January 18, 1925 at St. Peter Lutheran Church by Rev. F. Schedtler in Eldorado and confirmed April 2, 1939 by Rev. William A. Foege. He remained a lifetime member of St. Peter, serving as organist there for over 50 years.
Richard attended the single room Dover No.2 school in Eldorado and graduated from West Union High in 1942. Although he had dreams of becoming a railroad engineer, he spent the summer of ’42 fully expecting to become a lifelong farmer until one day Ewald came to his room with startling news, “Wartburg College starts today, and I think you should go”. That morning, young Richard packed a few clothes and drove himself to Wartburg, where a semester of college cost $182. After a year of college, with the draft age recently lowered from 21 to 18, he returned home to await his call to service. He worked as a butter maker at the West Union Farmers Creamery until he enlisted in 1949. In the Army, he was trained as a radar operator, but in the Korean War served as an infantry rifleman with the 5th Cavalry where he was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Korean Service Medal, three bronze battle stars, and the United Nations Service Ribbon.
After discharge from the Army, he began work as a bookkeeper at the First National Bank of West Union, where he worked 34 years becoming sr. vice president and secretary of the board. One day, the young bookkeeper made a momentous visit to Dr. Jerdee’s office in Clermont seeking a treatment for dandruff, where he met the beautiful receptionist Lavanda Angeline Olsen. They were married on May 4, 1958, a perfect union that lasted until her passing on March 2, 2018.
He was an avid wood and metal worker, steam & antique engine enthusiast, could fix anything, exercised every day, and was devoted to his family and faith. He served his family, church and community throughout his life as an officer on many organizations including his lifelong church St. Peter Lutheran, the West Union Schools, the American Legion, the Fayette Co Fair, Rotary International, the Good Samaritan Center, and German Mutual Ins Co.
Richard is survived by his son, David (Sandy) Vagts; grandchildren, Aaron and Hannah Vagts. He was preceded in death by his wife Lavanda in 2018; parents, Ewald and Anna Vagts; and sister Loretta Shipton.
Visitation will be held Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 3-6pm at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Eldorado, Iowa.
Funeral Services will be at 1 pm on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Eldorado, Iowa with Rev. Ginny Olson as the Officiant.
Burial will follow at St. Peter Cemetery, Eldorado, Iowa with a reception to follow in the church basement.
Burnham-Wood-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of West Union, Iowa is helping the family with arrangements.