Mary Ellen (Collins) Wagner passed away peacefully at her home in New Providence, NJ on December 19th at the age of 88. She leaves behind 4 children, 10 grandchildren and numerous beloved family members and friends.
Mary Ellen was born on May 29, 1932 to William Francis Collins and Elizabeth Hartert. She was the oldest of their five daughters and grew up doting on her sisters: Nancy Silvey (deceased), Eileen Hickey, Kathleen Coppola (deceased) and Sheila Grant.
After the Benedictine Academy, she graduated from Seton Hall University and worked as a biologist at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, performing lab research.
She met the love of her life, the late Ernest J. Wagner, at a dance at the Jersey Shore. Within 6 months, Ernie had proposed at the New York Botanical Garden and they were married.
During a 5-year span, the Wagners had 4 children: Michael (Mary) Wagner, Pauline (John) Groetelaars, Elizabeth (Allan) Lundberg, and Catherine (Alex) Wagner. They made their home in Pelham Parkway (Bronx), with Mary Ellen working as a stay-at-home mom and volunteering at the Holy Rosary School and the Villa Maria Academy.
Mary Ellen had many pleasures, especially the time she spent with her grandchildren: Matthew, Ellie, Sara, Andom, Emmeny, John, Andrew, James, Marina and Max. She was a voracious consumer of books, crossword puzzles and politics. She loved being with Ernie and with her sisters, and the family gatherings at Lake Owassa (NJ) and in Marco Island (FL).
She was a woman of uncommon strength. She had survived or endured breast cancer, macular degeneration, COVID, brain surgery, and many seasons as a NY Jets fan. She died on her own terms, and surrounded by family.
Due to COVID, a small (live-streamed) service will take place on December 23rd at St. Joseph’s Church (Bronxville). In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Mary Ellen’s honor to the American Cancer Society.