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Class of 1952 (Dental Hygiene)



Patricia Anne Wagner of Silverdale, Wash., a prominent early University of Washington dental hygiene graduate and faculty member who wrote a widely used dental hygiene textbook and launched the dental hygiene program at Idaho State University, passed away on Aug. 11, 2012.

Born on Aug. 14, 1928, Wagner graduated from the UW with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene in 1952 and a master’s degree in education. She was hired by Dr. Esther Wilkins after graduation as one of the first UW dental hygiene faculty members.  After teaching dental hygiene at the UW, she founded and directed the dental hygiene program at Idaho State.

In 1965, she married Malcolm M. Wagner, who preceded her in death in 2003. She went on to teach dental hygienists at two junior colleges in California until she was appointed Assistant to the Dean at University of the Pacific in San Francisco. She was a consultant to the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association and involved in accreditation of dental hygiene programs. She was instrumental in establishing the American Dental Hygiene Association Division of Educational Services and, with Dr. Wilkins, was co-author of the first widely used textbook for dental hygiene students, Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist. Updated versions of that text, first published in 1959, are still in use today.

Wagner also played a major role in the development of the Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association and Greater Seattle Dental Hygiene Component, and served those groups in several capacities in the 1950s and 1960s.

Ahead of her time, she influenced many young women to move into the professional world, including her stepdaughter Sallie and step-granddaughter Patricia Brown, her namesake.

Wagner had a sharp wit and a ready smile. She loved the old big bands, golf, boating and watching sea birds, especially seagulls. During her undergraduate days at the UW, she played percussion in local bands.

Besides Sallie and Patricia, she leaves behind her stepson-in-law Butch Brown, step-grandchildren Michael Lemons, Dan and Linda Lemons, Patrick and Heidi Brown and Christopher Brown, along with 10 step-great-grandchildren.