Growing Up Amish

From a press release by Vincennes

“New York Times best-selling author Ira Wagler will return home to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters during Vincennes  University’s 206th Commencement on April 28. Both Wagler and VU President Dick Helton will address the Class of 2012.

 The author of the book “Growing Up Amish: A Memoir” (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), Wagler is a 1991 VU alumnus who holds a bachelor’s  degree in English from Bob Jones University (1993) and a law degree from Dickinson School of Law (1997).

Wagler practiced law with the firm of Clymer & Musser, Lancaster, PA from 1997 to 2001 before beginning a career as general manager of Graber  Supply, LLC, Pole Building Supplier and Builder, Atglen, PA. Speaking of his co-career as a writer, Wagler says on his website, “This I will do or die trying. Actually, it’s just now all coming down, unfolding as you read this. It’s been a wild, wild ride, far beyond anything I could have imagined.“

Wagler describes his memoir as a “journey at its core no different than many coming of age journeys.” Inspired by his favorite writer, Thomas Wolfe, Wagler’s book is a true story of self-discovery and seeking where  he belongs. The epilogue to his book concludes, “I have no regrets for the road I chose. And I rarely wonder how life would have been on the road not taken.”

 Born in 1961 in the small Old Order Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario,Wagler’s book creates a vivid portrait of Amish life from childhood to his decision to leave the Amish community for good at age 26. In between, beginning at age 17, Ira left and then returned to the community numerous times over five years, torn between his heritage and the freedom and possibilities of the outside world. The book describes a difficult path with “years of turmoil, rage, and anguish.”

 The 9th child out of 11 children, Wagler dedicated his book to his mother, Ida Mae, who “never wavered in her deep love for all her children, even—and maybe especially—for her wayward sons.”

 Prior to enrolling at VU, Wagler received his GED from Washington High School in 1989, having only completed the 8th grade in an Amish one-room school in Aylmer, Ontario.

An avid hiker along the Tacquon Trail, completing as much as 12 miles in a day, Wagler is also a big fan of football, especially the New York Jets since 1981, as well as Nascar and baseball. Wagler also enjoys reading, writing and describes himself as a “charcoal grill purist.“ Wagler continues to work in “tidbits on the Great American Novel.“

 VU’s Commencement will be televised live on WVUT-TV beginning at 2 p.m.  EDT on April 28.

 VINCENNES UNIVERSITY – Indiana’s First College
 VU is state-supported with campuses in Vincennes and Jasper and additional sites such as Indianapolis and the Gibson County Center for Advanced  Manufacturing and Logistics. VU also offers instruction at military sites throughout the nation.

 In addition to offering 200 associate degree and certificate programs, VU also offers bachelor’s degree programs in technology, homeland security, nursing, secondary education programs in mathematics and, science, and special education/elementary education.

 VU enrolls students from throughout Indiana, 28 other states, and 30 countries. Tuition and fees are the lowest among Indiana campuses with residence halls. VU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

 Founded in 1801, VU is Indiana’s first college and is the only college in the nation founded by an individual who would later become President of the United States. William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, founded VU while serving as governor of the Indiana Territory. More information  is available at”

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2 Responses to “Growing Up Amish”

  1. Ira, I have just finished ‘Growing up Amish”. I was unable to put it down. Thank you for your open and honest story of your life. I am blessed with the outcome. I hope you will continue to write as you are a good writer. I would like to read your blog but I have not found it as of today. mm


  2. I enjoyed the book, Growing up Amish, but was disappointed at the end as the review on back cover said, you will learn…………..the reason for his eventual departure from the faith he knew as a child.

    I didn’t get that answer.

    Sorry, but would like to know what was meant by this promised of info.



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