HAMILTON — Alexis Deborah Wagner, born June 3, 1954, passed away in search of farther trails, forests and waterways on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, the daughter of Al and Sis Smith, joining her older brothers Philip and Jerry in mischief.
As an Air Force brat, Alexis spent her early years living in various countries such as Japan and France. Eventually the family settled in Redlands, California, where she went to high school and met her first husband, Mike Wagner. They were married in 1972. Alexis gave birth to her first and only biological son, Joshua Philip, in 1975. She gave him his middle name to honor her brother, who she loved deeply, and lost to the Vietnam War.
The family lived a year in Hawaii as part of YWAM before Alexis went to nursing school at Loma Linda University, then moved to Scotts Valley, California, in 1979 where she attended Stanford University Medical School. She was awarded two degrees, one as a nurse practitioner and the other as a physician assistant.
In 1986, Alexis and her family moved to Hamilton. She worked at Marcus Daily Hospital and the Bitterroot Clinic before opening her first clinic in 2004.
After spending some time back in California with her mother, Alexis returned to Hamilton and married her second husband, Steve Wilcox, in 2010. She worked in sleep medicine for a couple years, sharing an office building with her son in Missoula by complete coincidence. She started a new clinic in Hamilton in 2013, which will remain open as her legacy. She touched and healed countless hearts and lives throughout the Bitterroot Valley. Her passion for medicine and love for the community manifested in many ways, not least of which was the undivided attention she offered to anyone she encountered.
In 2012 her husband Steve was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer. From that day on her life became a crusade to understand this obscure illness, seek out the best treatment for Steve, and support the broader community of those who battled alongside him.
All her life, Alexis expressed a profound love of nature. She enjoyed silent hours with oceans, forests and fields. Her brother once worked on MGs, and she felt connected to his memory by cruising around in her own. She was obsessed with the movement involved in discovering the natural world — whether her mode of transportation was driving, riding motorcycles, airplanes (and even jumping out of one), scuba diving, cruise ships, and often simply on foot. She loved to seek out the beauty and tranquility of nature, but she also had a hankering for shooting guns and blowing things apart. Paper targets were never good enough, and she insisted on replacing them with soda cans, pumpkins or anything else that would explode.
She loved to read, learn and discover. Always interested, always curious.
Alexis is survived by her husband Steve, his children Melissa, Jason (and Tiffany), and Tanya, Cody (and Marie), Steve’s 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, her first husband Mike, and her son Josh.
Memorial services will be held at the Corvallis United Methodist Church on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. Condolences may be left for the family at dalyleachchapel.com.
The family recommends the Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Network (http://netcancerawareness.org/) for friends desiring to make memorial contributions. The fight against this devastating illness was near to Alexis’ heart.