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Thursday, June 8, 2023
10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)
Richard Arlyn Hager, 79, retired high school math teacher and coach, passed away Monday, June 5, 2023. A celebration of life reception will be from 10:00-12:00 with remarks beginning at 11:00, on Thursday, June 8, at the Cozine Life Events Center in Wichita. Richard is preceded in death by his father and step-mother, John and Edith Hager; mother, Melvina Hager; and sisters, Rita Nelson, and Delores Halbert. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Dorene Hager; children, Tony (Jennifer) Hager, Angela Hager, Sherri (Chad) Beierle, and Cameron (Ariana) Hager; grandchildren, Blake Hager, Cale (Brooke) Hager, Allison (Chris) Presnell, Chloe (Drew) Mullen, Damon Hager, Addison Reed-Hager, Ashton Reed-Hager, Avery Reed-Hager, Aiden Reed-Hager, Amara Reed-Hager, and Acie Reed-Hager; and 2 great-grandchildren, Cameron Hager, and Charlotte Hager. Share condolences, view expanded obituary, and view tribute video at www.cozine.com.
Richard Hager Eulogy
Richard grew up on a small farm near Norton, Kansas. He often told his kids stories of his life on the farm and the physical feats of his father as a mid-20th century farmer. Richard’s agricultural roots were reflected in a few side businesses he entered as an adult. More importantly, the work ethic and ingenuity that he learned from farm life became characteristic of his professional life and in the lives of his descendants.
His professional life was that of an educator. Teaching was not a job for Richard. He loved teaching kids high school math. Mr. Hager’s classes were marked by rigor and high expectations. His students not only learned math skills, but discipline and critical thinking. His expectations for his students were exceeded by his own commitment. He made it a habit to be at school early and to stay late in order to spend time with students that needed extra help. At the end of his career, he spent a little over a year as a substitute teacher. His students told him that he was better than their normal teachers in the way that he took time to help them understand math concepts.
In addition to teaching math, Richard also valued having an impact on students’ character. Dorene tells a story of a young man that wrote a letter of gratitude for the talk Mr. Hager had with him in the boys’ restroom about his use of profane language.
Richard’s kids and grandkids enjoyed his efforts to provide a fun family life. Camping trips in the 70s and 80s are among the favorite memories of his children. Rowdy family card games and popcorn and TV were frequent in the Hager house in Oberlin. His grandkids always looked forward to trips to Dodge City (or was it “Dog City”?) to enjoy pets, Atari video games, kickball games, and family 4th of July parties.
Richard’s life was impacted by health struggles before his time. While his capabilities were limited, he always reflected joy in seeing family, contributed to a happy atmosphere, and was ready to share his sense of humor. Conversation became increasingly difficult, but listening in to the lively conversations of kids, grand kids, and great grandkids was something he enjoyed to the end.
Richard sought to finish well even with his limitations.
There are other ways he showed his determination to end well. In his last few years, he cherished reading the Bible, even when reading was difficult and remembering what he read was impossible. His prayers at meals became less fluent but increased in expressions of humility, faith, and gratitude.
As we remember Richard Hager today, we can celebrate and be grateful for ways his life impacted us and many others.