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Robert Thomas Wagner

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By The Staff

WAGNER – Dr. Robert Thomas Wagner, 84, husband of Margaret Jeanette (Watson) Schnakenberg Wagner died Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2007, at King’s Daughters’ Community Health and Rehab Center, Staunton, Va.He was born July 15, 1923, in Winona, Minn., a son of the late John J. and Elizabeth V. (Eisenmenger) Wagner.In 1941, Mr. Wagner enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve program and remained in the program until June 1943, at which point he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy. He graduated with the class of 1946. His graduation ranking was in the upper one-third and his selection was Artillery.After completion of military schools at Ft. Sill and Ft. Bliss, he was ordered to the Panama Canal Zone, but within a month he returned to Ft. Benning for airborne training. He graduated from the Radar and Guided Missile School in Ft. Bliss in December 1950. From 1951 through 1953, he attended the University of Virginia under the Army’s Civil School’s Program where he obtained graduate degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in experimental nuclear physics.From graduate school, he was ordered to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory where he did research and development on nuclear weapons. In 1959, Tom resigned his commission and entered the U.S. Army Reserve in which he remained until 1983. In 1965, he took a two-year leave of absence from the lab to return to St. Mary’s College in Minnesota, where he was an associate professor of physics and assistant dean of men.In 1967, he was ordered to the Pentagon where he was chief of the Technical Developments Division. A one-year tour was followed by an appointment as chairman of the physics department at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. In 1975, he was selected to be dean of sciences and mathematics and professor of physics at the University of Southern Colorado, a position which he held until 1979. He then became academic dean at New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell, N.M., where he simultaneously taught physics and was a consultant to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission until 1986 at which time he retired.In addition to his wife of 41 years, family members include an adopted son, George Wagner of Green Bay, Wis., and a step-son, Ronald Schnakenberg of Hot Springs, Va.; and a daughter, Sara Jane Wagner of Las Cruces, N.M.He was preceded in death by a step-daughter, Margaret Lynne Noble; a brother; and a sister.A funeral mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan.11, 2008, in the Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity with burial in the Post Cemetery, West Point, N.Y.In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Association of Graduates, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. 10996 or to The Catholic Chapel at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996.Henry Funeral Home of Staunton, Va., and William F. Hogan Funeral Home of Highland Falls, N.Y., are handling the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.henryfuneralhome.net.