Robert D. Wagner

October 31, 1928 ~ April 11, 2020 (age 91)


Robert D. Wagner, fifty-plus year resident of Highland, Maryland, passed away April 11, 2020 at the age of 91. Bob was born on October 31, 1928 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and was the youngest of William Carl and Anna May Wagner’s seven children. Until 1940, his family lived on Park Avenue, where they were neighbors of Carl Stotz, who founded Little League in 1939. Bob joined Little League in its second year, playing second base for Stein’s Gas Station and led the league in batting. The family later moved to Rural Avenue, where Bob lived until approximately 1957.

Bob graduated from Williamsport High School in 1946, and spent that summer in the Idaho woods as part of a program in support of wildfire suppression. He returned to Williamsport in the fall and enrolled at Lycoming College, but left after two years, taking various jobs working as a surveyor’s assistant. In 1950, as the Korean War began, he joined the Air Force where he spent most of the next four years learning radar repair. During his last year in the service, he was sent to Korea where he had a chance to climb the dome of the capitol in Seoul and to visit Japan twice.

Returning home, he went back to Lycoming College, earning a teaching degree in 1956. After a year teaching with the Manheim, Pennsylvania school system, he decided that teaching wasn’t his calling and took a job with General Electric. While with GE, he lived in Syracuse, NY, Santa Maria, CA, Phoenix, AZ and eventually, in 1960, he moved to Alexandria, VA. It was during this time that he met Ellen Coffey, who was running a social club through the Washington, DC YWCA.  By late 1961, they were married and settled in an apartment on Maple Avenue in Takoma Park, MD, and Bob was working for the Johns Hopkin’s Applied Physics Lab.

In 1963, Bob and his family moved to Highland, MD, where he continued to work for APL until his retirement in 1991. During that time, he was involved with various church programs and social organizations and, for a time, tutored young people in math. In retirement, he and Ellen enjoyed traveling around the United States, reading, and nature.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ellen, his son, Bill, and by five of his brothers and sisters (Marie, Carl, John, Martha, and Gladys). He is survived by his brother, Jim, his son, David (Lisa) and his grandchildren, Ian and Sydney.

A celebration of his long and full life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to The Nature Conservancy or Defenders of Wildlife.



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