In memory of
Ann Wagner Harper
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In memory of
Ann Wagner Harper
Ann Wagner Harper of Vincennes, IN, a member of the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame passed away Thursday October 13, 2016 at the Heritage Center at 4:30 p.m. She was born August 3, 1924 in Louisville, KY the daughter of Charles & Clara Kassens Wagner. She was raised in Vincennes attending Sacred Heart Catholic Grade School, and graduated from St. Rose Academy in 1942. Upon graduation, she was chosen to work for Indiana Bell Telephone Co in Vincennes as an operator. In 1944, she won a vocal competition for a scholarship to the University Of Louisville School Of Music for vocal training and began her career in broadcasting with WHAS radio in Louisville, KY as a vocalist.  In fall of 1945, she returned to Vincennes and approached the Brokhage Department Store to promote an idea of having music playing throughout the store and to announce the daily specials the store had during the holiday's. This was her first experience being a disc jockey.  In January of 1946, she joined WAOV where Brokhage Department Store sponsored her radio show, "Silver Lining Time". She learned various aspects of the radio business during her employment at WAOV. During her time on WAOV, she met Charles O. Harper, who owned Peoples Cleaners and would later become her husband. In January of 1947, she moved to Indianapolis to become a vocalist with the Art Berry's Orchestra at the Columbia Club and vocalist on "Annie's' Almanac" on WIBC radio.  As television matured, she began her television career in September of 1949; she performed on the first TV musical on WFBM TV called "Circle B Ranch". Her western costume is on display at the Indiana State Museum.  She then went on to perform on her own show, "Ann and Sue" on WFBM TV.  She received the TV News Vocalist Video Award in 1951. In 1951, she became the first female Disc Jockey in Indiana on WFBM radios afternoon show "Make Mine Music" and was reported to be the first commercial female disc jockey in the United States. She also hosted the poplar morning show, "Party Line" also on WFBM. Her radio career with that station lasted 9 years. In 1955, she was united in marriage to Charles O. Harper. He preceded her in death on August 15, 2004 after 49 years together. Her twenty years of "FIRSTS" earned her induction to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1985. Upon retirement from Radio and Television as a performer, she returned to college at Butler University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Masters Degree in Education. She joined the faculty of Butler University, Jordan College of Fine Arts as a professor of Radio and Television. She later became Chairman of the department and manager of WAJC, the radio station for Butler University. She held memberships at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, St. Peter & Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, where she was a lector for both churches. She is survived by her sisters, Dorothy Wagner Rohrer of Newburgh, IN and Carolyn Wagner Benjamin of Vincennes, IN. She will also be missed by her nieces and nephews whom she cared for as her own. Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Charles O. Harper, her parents Charles and Clara Kassens Wagner, two brothers, Ralph E. Wagner and John "Jack" Wagner and a sister,  Mary Wagner Holman. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday October 19, 2016 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with Fr. David Fleck as celebrant. Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday October 18, 2016  There will be an interment service at Crown Hill Cemetery Mausoleum in Indianapolis, IN at 2:30 p.m. prior to entombment. Memorial Donations can be made in her memory to Sacred Heart Church Building Fund. Online condolences can be made at duesterbergfredrick.com
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