"He continued . . . activities around disseminating information about his Sigma Nu brothers every year, which was really instrumental in keeping them all together as a group," said his son, Gregory. "He was the glue that held these people together."
Gregory Vadner remembered his father as an adventurous spirit. He held a series of jobs with Coca-Cola and various bottling franchises, starting as a route driver in Indianapolis. After working in St. Louis for the local bottling company, he moved into sales, working out of the city as a regional sales representative for Coca-Cola Co. itself. He later worked for the Detroit bottling franchise before putting down roots in Strafford to work at the Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., eventually becoming vice president and general manager of the bottling plant.
And in 2008, an Inquirer article trumpeted Mr. Vadner's triumphant completion of a lifelong quest: "3,000-plus U.S. counties, and he's seen every one: Chesco man completes the journey of a lifetime."
"I'm not saying this is the most beautiful country there is . . . I'm just saying this is a gorgeous country, and I'm privileged to live here," Mr. Vadner told The Inquirer at the time. "And I decided to see it all."
His son laughed as he recalled how Mr. Vadner's habit of marking his travels on maps led to the quest. He filled boxes with highlighted maps, his son said, and eventually a large wall map helped him remember which counties were left. The final stop was Alaska's Aleutian Islands, where there are no counties, but the state's boroughs and Louisiana's parishes counted as county-equivalents, as did Washington, D.C., and a few dozen other cities independent of counties.
That spirit led Mr. Vadner to take his family traveling constantly.
"He loved nature, he loved the beauty, and he loved talking to people," his son said. "We weren't rich, we weren't poor, but we just had a fantastic life. He was a hard worker, but he was always fun. We went camping, we went traveling to places. He loved to drive and do things along the way, stop and see things."
Mr. Vadner also is survived by daughters Christine, Andrea, and Hilary and two granddaughters.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. May 18 at the Vadner family farm in Grubville, Mo., where his cremated remains will be scattered.
Contact Jonathan Lai at 856-779-3220, email@example.com, or on Twitter @elaijuh.