Memorable Manitobans: Delbert “Del” Wagner (1927-2004)
Born at Edmonton, Alberta on 16 April 1927, son of Zena Bradshaw (1910-1990, later wife of Percy Haynes) and Walter Wagner (1901-1943), he moved to Winnipeg’s North End around 1948. Coming from a musical family, he began his career as a jazz musician in the early 1950s with Marsh Phimister at Jack’s Place, a popular Winnipeg nightclub. He was a drummer, vocalist, and tap dancer. He played in many clubs in Winnipeg, had his own show consisting of singing and dancing, and was the drummer for the Al Sprintz band at Club Morocco for many years. He also had his own trio at Koko’s, and performed in a duo with Don Kissick.
He was a member of the Winnipeg Musicians’ Association Local 190 for 50 years. His musical talents were featured on numerous television networks, and he was profiled in the 1991 documentary Prairie Soul: Black Rhythms from the Heartland by the Canadian National Film Board. He was a mentor and drum teacher to young music students in Winnipeg, many of whom kept in touch with him through the years. He touched countless people with his music and his deep interest in their well-being. In 1948, he married Amy Plaxton and they had two children.
Besides music, he loved golf, being an active member of the Bel Acres Country Club and Breezy Bend Country Club for a number of years. He worked at Harbour View and then at Kildonan Park Golf Course. Two of the highlights in his golf career were winning a Winnipeg Municipal Golf Tournament, and shooting an incredible 67 at the Tuxedo Park Golf Course. In 1996, he and his wife moved to Calgary, Alberta where he worked at Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club.
He died at Calgary on 8 August 2004.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 19 August 2004.
“Delbert Wagner,” Wagner Family Tree, Ancestry.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 28 August 2022