Peter J. Wagner, a longtime Lockport businessman, owner died unexpectedly Wednesday in Eastern Niagara Hospital after a brief illness. He was 72.
Born in Buffalo, he opened his own business, Ace Auto Trim, at age 19 in the city. He moved to Lockport in 1964, where he founded Pete's Auto Trim, a business he ran successfully until his death.
Mr. Wagner also was a talented upholster, drawing business from across the region and recognized for his skill and speed. It was common anytime of year to find him working late into the night on a car seat or a sofa. In the summers, he also would be out on the lake, repairing canvas boat covers.
A car lover, he expanded his business into car sales, enjoying the chance to go to auctions and make a good deal. He enjoyed auctions and flea markets of all types, hunting for a good bargain and then selling his latest find.
"He was an excellent salesman, a salesman's salesman," said his son-in-law, Michael Lyons.
His other hobby was stamp collecting, which also gave him a chance to search for that rare find. He also had a love of history and electronics, building his own computers, and enjoyed documenting the family history and taking photographs. Like his businessman father before him, he had his own dark room.
"The term jack-of-all-trades is often overused, but it certainly described my dad," said his daughter Nancy A. Fischer. "He had a hand in literally a million things and when something broke down, you'd say, 'Dad can fix it.' "
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, the former Shirley Odle; three daughters, Nancy Fischer, Karen Lyons and Julie Banks; and two sisters, Marlene Guarino and Illona Raccuia.
Prayers will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Prudden and Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., followed at 10 by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. John Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St.