Cover photo for William Wrage's Obituary
William Wrage Profile Photo
1936 William 2024

William Wrage

January 10, 1936 — March 10, 2024

William Wrage, 88, retired Ohio University professor emeritus, passed away in his sleep early Sunday morning in his home in Athens, Ohio, surrounded by his family. 

Bill, as he liked to be called, was born in Lincoln, Illinois to the late Henry & Emelia (Kutz) Wrage.  In 1957, he graduated with a BA in French from Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri with honors in French and Phi Beta Kappa in 1957.  He received a Fulbright scholarship for 1957-1958 at the University of Dijon, France.  He received fellowships to complete his MA and PhD at the University of Wisconsin at Madison from 1958 through 1963.  While at Madison, he met his future wife, Marie-Claire Connes, coincidentally from Dijon, France, and they married in August 1959 in Dijon.  In 1963, he starting his teaching career at Miami University at Oxford, Ohio.  In 1969, Bill & Marie-Claire moved to Athens, Ohio where they continued teaching at Ohio University until their retirements, Bill in 1996 and Marie-Claire in 1997.  While teaching at Ohio University, Bill served as Chairman of Modern Languages from 1972 to 1977.  Bill and Marie-Claire both conducted the French study abroad spring program in Tours, France for about 15 years.  Bill felt that his directing and teaching of this program was the major contribution to the students he took with him to Tours.

Prior to his decline in health, Bill enjoyed taking Marie-Claire on most of his many travels to foreign countries, including most of the European countries including some that no longer exist.  He also enjoyed traveling in the Far East in places like India, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, and China.  Other notable mentions are Russia, Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey.  The United States did not escape his passion for traveling as he was able to visit every state in the union except for Alaska, Hawaii, and Nevada.

After several years of health issues, he had been living a comfortable and productive life at home.  He had been enjoying and keeping busy with his usual hobbies of art, reading, cooking, traveling around Ohio watching the seasons change, visiting with friends, and catching up on watching movies.  No longer able to care for his own garden, he enjoying seeing the fruits of his labor as his flowers started to bloom again with the coming of spring.

He was preceded in death by his sister Florence and her husband Dave Riley, an infant brother Henry Wrage, his son Eric Wrage, and his nephew Charlie Riley.  He is survived by his wife of 64.5 years, Marie-Claire Wrage, his son David Wrage, and Eric’s three grand-daughters, Elise, Emma, and Kenna Wrage.  He is also survived by the mother of his grand-daughters, Rebecca (Maple) Wrage, and his daughter-in-law Melissa (Bigler) Wrage, along with Lindsay Groote, David’s partner, all three of which he thought of as if they were his own daughters, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank Jeff Chaddock for the decades of still ongoing friendship and all the help and comfort he has given the family.  These last few years, he has been invaluable to the Wrage family and especially Bill and Marie-Claire and we cannot heap enough praise and thanks on him.

Although there will be no funeral, a celebration of his life will be announced and held later this spring or summer. Those who wish to send flowers, cards, or condolence gifts for the family are asked to do so after the celebration of life & venue is announced. Friends and family are welcomed to sign the online guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Wrage, please visit our flower store.


Visits: 31

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree