Jeremy Wagner possessed a ‘rare combination of intelligence, wit and humbleness’

Jeremy Wagner, a junior majoring in philosophy at Oakland University, died Saturday, June 14. He was 21.

Wagner succumbed to complications from bone cancer, which he had fought for more than seven years.

Jeremy was active at OU despite his condition, participating in the Ethics Bowl where he impressed those around him. Friends and family constantly described Jeremy as highly intelligent and passionate in dissecting arguments to their core.

“Jeremy was a rare individual who had that rare combination of intelligence, wit and humbleness,” said William Kalas, one of Wagner’s teammates in the Ethics Bowl. “Even when Jeremy would dominate particular arguments during our debates, he was never ever condescending towards another individual, and always treated everyone with respect.”

Mark Rigstad, a Philosophy professor who helped out with the Ethics Bowl, also saw Wagner as engaging.

“In many ways he embodied Socrates’ dictum that to fear death is ‘to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know,’” Rigstad said.

“Although it was often evident that his battle with bone cancer was causing him serious pain during class, he never failed to muster sufficient if not more than enough energy to participate in lengthy and in-depth philosophical discussions and oral presentations. He’ll be sorely missed and fondly remembered.”

For the latter part of his time at OU, Jeremy lived in the Ann V. Nicholson Apartments on campus. His roommate, senior William Chundrlik, remembered him as a hindered, yet normal, individual.

“He really liked to cook,” Chundrlik said, noting that it served as a bond between Jeremy and his girlfriend. He also characterized Wagner as a big reader, a strong writer and a major fan of Magic cards.

“There were so many Magic cards in the apartment,” he said with a chuckle.

Outside of school, Jeremy was equally known for his compassion and love for life. Angel Matheson, the mother of one of his close friends, remembered him as a regular face in her household.

“He loved his friends as if they were a special gift that he had received. He loved them unconditionally. He was the gift,” she said.

Jeremy’s mother, Andie Wagner, summed up her son’s life: “Jer was a warrior. (He) fought for every minute of life for seven-plus years. Amazing son who knew how much his mom, sister and family loved him.”

Jeremy is survived by his parents, Andie and Jeff, and his sister Lindsey.