Obituary of Brett C. Wagner
Astoria, NY-Brett Clifford Wagner, 32, passed away suddenly following an extended illness at New York-Presbyterian Weill-Cornell Medical Center on June 23, 2023. He was born in Albany on May 26, 1991 to Bruce J. Wagner and Janet M. (Catlin) Wagner, and moved with his parents from Albany to Schodack on his 3rd birthday. He was educated in the Schodack Central School District and graduated 3rd in his class from Maple Hill High School in 2009. Brett attended SUNY Binghamton, earning a B.A. in Psychology, cum laude, in 2013. After graduation, he began employment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, where he remained for 6 years, advancing to Assistant Manager in hospital operations, before leaving to pursue his dream of becoming a social worker, with an emphasis upon tending to the needs of his own LGBTQIA+ community. Brett entered the accelerated Master of Social Work program at the Silver School of Social Work, New York University, in January 2020, from which he earned his M.S.W degree, summa cum laude, in May 2021, having persevered along with his closely-knit group of classmates in academics and internships throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. He became a licensed master social worker in July 2021 and commenced employment that summer as a case manager at the Mt. Sinai Hospital and in private practice as a therapist at the Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center. He dedicated himself to his role as a social worker and therapist until he was no longer able to do so. Brett discovered his passion for dance at the age of 7, after his mother noticed an advertisement for a boys’ tap class, which began his 11 years as a student of the Isabelle School of Dance and led to his being a member of its Competition Team for 7 years, where he performed in tap, jazz, ballet, modern, lyrical, and musical theatre styles. He continued his commitment to dance in college with SUNY Binghamton’s International Flag Dancers (IFD) and after graduation, with a group of Binghamton alumni and many other new friends, as a member of ChoreoLounge in the NYC area. He also performed during several recent seasons, with his sister, for the Danceworks New York City Project, and enjoyed attending her most recent DWNYC show last month with his parents, grandmother, and cousin Carlie. He studied piano and clarinet, using his mother’s family piano and his mother’s clarinet, and enjoyed his participation in the Maple Hill Middle School and High School bands and choruses and the Maple Hill High School Swing Choir. He sang under his father’s direction in the former Yankee Male Chorus, and with his sister, was a frequently added singer for choral concerts and collaborations of the former Hendrick Hudson Male Chorus, the Mohawk-Hudson Male Chorus Association, and the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary Choir. Brett was an Eagle Scout and according to the best information available, was one of only two boys in the then 80-year history of BSA Troop 53 (Castleton) to earn both the bronze and gold palms beyond the Eagle Scout rank. His Eagle Scout project was a sand volleyball court at the First United Methodist Church in East Greenbush. Brett was a strong swimmer, and earned the BSA Lifeguard designation in 2008, which qualified him for summer jobs during his college years. Brett was a member of Big Apple Dodgeball, a NYC sports league for LGBTQIA+ and LGBTQIA+ friendly participants. He was a devoted fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and enjoyed traveling to California for RuPaul events and with his friends to Fire Island, Provincetown, and other destinations. He relished annual family vacations in Wells, Maine and in more recent years, in Newport, Rhode Island. Brett was a proud gay man who had the unconditional love, support and acceptance of his family and many friends, and he more recently benefited greatly from his connection with the Pride Center of the Capital Region, to whom his family owes a great debt of thanks. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his sister, Sarah Moore Wagner (Stephanie Malvica, who for the last 3 years, was another sister to him) of Astoria, his grandmother, Gloria A. (Moore) Wagner, his godparents Jeffrey J. Wagner and Donna L. Benson, and an extended family of beloved aunts, uncles and cousins, and by many friends. He was predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Clifford G. and Marion L. (Hammond) Catlin, his paternal grandfather, Raymond J. Wagner and by his paternal great grandmother, Mary A. (Carey) Moore, who was the only great grandparent he knew and with whom he shared a strong bond, well into his teenage years.
Calling hours will be on Friday, June 30, 2023 at the Castleton Funeral Home, 59 Seaman Avenue, Castleton, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. A service of celebration of Brett’s life will be held at the First United Methodist Church (A Reconciling Congregation, with Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors), 1 Gilligan Road, East Greenbush on Saturday, July 1, 2023 at 10:00 a.m., with the Rev. Robert Lowenthal officiating. Interment will be immediately following at Horizon View Cemetery, 1375 Brookview Station Road, Castleton. Donations in Brett’s memory may be made to the Pride Center of the Capital Region, www.capitalpridecenter.org Lambda Legal NYC www.lambdalegal.org or to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis NYC www.gmhc.org.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Brett Wagner, please visit our Tree Store