Cora Jane Wagner was born to Daniel and Donna Wagner on Aug. 14, 2000, in Fargo, N.D. She was a bright-eyed little girl, ready to take on the world. She grew up in rural Ransom County and loved her chickens, horses, dogs, cats, emus, turkeys, peacocks, guineas, llama, and bucking Shetland ponies. Although Cora lived in several houses throughout the county in her younger years, for her it always seemed to ring true - home is where is the barn is.
Cora began her animal showing career in the open class at the Ransom County Fair. She later joined 4-H and became active in all aspects of the program, including leadership. She held offices including Secretary and President and was a 4-H ambassador. Cora then got involved with Future Farmers of America (FFA) which became a big part of her life. She won many individual awards and the Enderlin Chapter earned the Gold Superior designation in 2018. The next year, in her senior year of high school, Cora was elected President of the Enderlin FFA Chapter.
Beyond her love for animals, Cora loved Jesus and was active in St. Patrick’s youth group at the Catholic church in Enderlin. She was also involved in the Lisbon gymnastics program, sang in choir, and loved running track. Her summer trips to Farmer’s Union camp were a yearly favorite. In her senior year, Cora discovered the joy of a team sport and found friendship and comradery in the Enderlin High School volleyball team which included her sister, Ella.
Cora and Ella were a sisterly force to be reckoned with. They did everything together from shopping to volleyball to late night talks. Ella was her true treasure and confidante.
Cora found satisfaction in hard work and this permeated her school and personal life. She woke up at 5:39 a.m., (a favorite number) each morning to do chores, gave it her all in school and sports, and was often found pitching in to help others. Her hard work led to a number of other successes in life. Cora was a part of the National Honor Society. She received a scholarship as a 2019 DEKALB Agricultural Accomplishment Award winner and also received a Hartl Scholarship. She graduated with honors from Enderlin High School in May of 2019 and attended North Dakota State University the following August, majoring in Animal Science and minoring in Equine Science.
Cora was a young woman of many talents. She was involved in two pageants. As a child, she won the title of Miss Ransom County Princess. Her junior year in high school, she decided to enter the Miss Teen North Dakota International pageant and was crowned first runner-up in 2018. The judges likely took to her genuine and tireless spirit that continues to inspire us all.
Courage and curiosity were other enduring elements in Cora’s life. She truly was tiny and tough - and on a mission to make the world a kinder, more beautiful, and gentle place. Her smile was infectious and her laughter was grand. She inspired others to overcome their fears, big and small. She also inspired others to truly enjoy living - and led by example. There’s more than one family in Ransom County that’s heard, “Hey, you guys should have a fire.” And the next thing you know a bunch of kids are roasting marshmallows and having s’mores. The joy she carried with her was contagious.
On Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, Cora Jane Wagner became an angel. After a weekend spent enjoying life, surrounded by family and friends, she passed away from injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident in rural McKenzie County. A full and perfect double rainbow appeared in the western North Dakota sky after her passing.
Cora is preceded in death by maternal grandfather, Donald Hegle; cousin, Michael Paul Berg (19); and extended family, Stanley David Wagner (16).
Cora is survived by her parents, Daniel and Donna Wagner; her sister, Ella; her paternal grandparents, Paul and Anita Wagner; her maternal grandmother, Evelyn Hegle; maternal uncles, Ken (children Nicole and Daniel) and Jeff Hegle; maternal aunt, Brenda Eklund (husband Wayne and children Sam, Bridget, and Luke); paternal aunt, Kimberlye Berg (husband Jim and children Megan and Tyler); paternal uncle, Patrick Wagner (child Vincent and significant other Deb); paternal uncle, Michael Wagner (wife Lynda and children Mandy, Morgan, and Natalie); paternal aunt, Nancy Hanson (husband Mark and children Shelby and Eric Arntson); and special friend Brandan Utke.
Memorial Mass was held Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, at 11 a.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Lisbon, N.D.
Memorials may be given in Cora’s honor to North Dakota Future Farmers of America (FFA Foundation Office, PO Box 6022, Bismarck, ND 58506).