In a world where a Google search of almost any name will bring multiple results, Yuk Wagner was an exception. Born Ronald Pierce Wagner on March 20, 1969 in Williamsport, he was affectionately known as Yuk, short for Yukel, short for “Motorcycle” that’s what he shouted when he saw a motorcycle in its infancy. And it turned out to be appropriate: a unique name for a unique character.
No matter what was going on in Yuk’s life, you would have the same smile and the same hug, like you just had to make her day. And what was going on in his life was bound to be different every time you saw him. It all started early, with his four major changes to Penn College of Technology after graduating from Williamsport Area High School in 1987. He started out majoring in accounting, moved on to general studies, and then moved on to college. business management, then to building construction technology and finally back. to business management. He left school before graduating, but got what he needed from the experience – he and his wife Kathy opened the Billtown Perk cafe on West Fourth Street in 1996.
Yuk made numerous stints at restaurants in Lincolnton, North Carolina, Selinsgrove, Hanover and Lock Haven, among others, before returning to Williamsport as manager of Ruby Tuesday. Most recently, he was a chef at Crippled Bear.
It’s not officially on the list of “love languages” but food was one of Yuk’s love tongues. To know him was to have eaten his food in one place or another and comforted himself there – and brought half of it home because of the generous portions. While he was a chef and kitchen manager at Pier 87 in Montoursville, he won the Hillside (Caterer) Soup Challenge for his clam chowder in 2018. And his cooking continued to gain accolades after he and Kathy recently added his dad to their household, though dad had to beg Yuk to be a little less generous with the portions.
Yuk’s other love language – one on the list – was quality time. No matter what financial or physical challenges he might face on a daily basis, he could always find the time to devote his full attention to a game of chess or to talk about fantasy football strategy with his sons, Drew and Blake. Amidst all the changes that have marked Yuk’s life, the only constant was his dedication to fatherhood. He worked six days a week, but gave every minute of his day off to his family. They’ve gone to countless concerts over the years, from a Tom Petty show Drew was too young to remember to the first Blake Dead & Company show (a tradition started when Yuk’s mother drove him to his first Grateful Dead show) to what would be Yuk’s last: one of Phish’s two nights at Hersheypark Stadium in August. When money was tight, the family would spend Yuk’s days off playing cornhole in the backyard, riding the basketball hoop in the alley, whatever they could do together. When the time came for Drew to leave the family home and move into an apartment in Montoursville last year, it’s no exaggeration to say that Yuk almost cried even though he was only there. five kilometers away.
The Wagner family began when Yuk married Kathy Bates in 1994, and grew when Drew arrived in 1997 and Blake followed in 2001. On the journey that followed, in addition to mastering fatherhood, Yuk a learned to be the best from Kathy. friend and a great listener all around. He learned to care so much for his friends and relatives, in fact, that he cried with them as easily as he laughed with them, depending on their situation at the time. And, of course, there would be a hug.
While not here this time – Yuk’s trip ended on November 18 – he is likely to cry and laugh in equal measure during a celebration of his life, for which plans are pending. . Donations to his family can be made on a GoFundMe page established for their benefit at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-wagner-family-funeral-expenses-for-yuk?qid = a20e3d66a45e400b80cbb9af6440d878. They wish to thank the many people who have already offered donations and support.
In addition to her immediate family and father, Ronald E. Wagner, Yuk is survived by two brothers, Doug (Toni) Wagner of Conifer, Colorado, and Jerry (Susan) Wagner of Virginia Beach, Virginia; and two nieces. He was predeceased by his mother, Phyllis A. (Henninger) Wagner, in 2008.