John Wagner was making his third trip on a New Bedford fishing vessel. His father was lost at sea at the age of 38, and his nephew-in-law, Joseph Parisi, was lost on the St. Stephen, October 1, 1962. He left behind a widow and six children.
The Midnight Sun left New Bedford on November 10, 1962, and disappeared in a storm on November 14 as she headed home to New Bedford from the fishing grounds. Late Wednesday and Thursday a storm packing winds of more than 90 miles an hour whipped seas into 50-foot waves as it ripped across Georges Bank. Local fishermen considered the storm to have been one of the worst of the century. Last radio contact was reported between 2 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The Midnight Sun was reported overdue when she failed to return to port along with the other vessels she had been fishing with. The Coast Guard conducted a seven-day, 63,000-square-mile search for the vessel but found no wreckage.