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Obituary: Dr. PauI Wagner Dec. 27, 1923–Aug. 9, 2019

on August 15, 2019 - 10:33am

DR. PAUL WAGNER Dec. 27, 1923 – Aug. 9, 2019

PauI Wagner, 1st Lt Ret,  of Albuquerque, NM was born in Troy, Rennselaer County, New York, 12-27-23.

He is a veteran of World War II where he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps flying 25 combat missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in Europe with the 8th Air Force. At war's end he was a First Lieutenant who had been awarded the Air Medal four times, had three ETO battle stars and a Presidential Citation for his combat experience. He remained in the US Army Reserves until the end of the Korean conflict in 1954.

He was educated after WWII at the State University of New York at Albany, Cornell University at the University of Rochester where, in 1952, he received a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry. After graduation, Dr. Wagner joined the Lewis Laboratory of the National Committee for Aeronautics in Cleveland, Ohio where he performed research on high energy fuels for jet aircraft including the U-2 spy plane.

In 1956 he joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory's nuclear rocket program where he specialized in high temperature thermophysics. During his career Dr. Wagner authored  more than 100 scientific publications and patents in national and international literature. He published in several disciplines including molecular structure, high temperature kinetics and thermophysics, solid state physics and metallurgy, nuclear materials and nuclear fuels, environmental chemistry, engineering and controls relating to fossil fuel utilization, technology and geochemistry. In 1989 he was the recipient of the International Thermal Conductivity Award for excellence in the field and for contributions made to the Space Program. During his career he spoke of his work at technical meetings throughout the U.S., Canada, England, Germany, Belgium and Austria.

In 1984 Dr. Wagner became Program Manager for funding Los Alamos' largest program ever, the Special Nuclear Materials Laboratory complex. As a result of his efforts, in 1987 Congress awarded the Los Alamos National Laboratory $209 million for the construction of the facility. Following this Dr. Wagner remained as technical staff advisor to the program until his retirement.

During his 38 years with the Los Alamos National Laboratory he occupied positions in the Space Reactor Division, the Chemistry and Metallurgy Divisions, the Chemistry and Laser Sciences Division, where he was an Associate Group Leader, the Materials Science and Technology Division and he was Program Manager for the Special Nuclear Materials Research & Development Laboratory.

Dr. Wagner retired from LANL in 1988 and consulted with private corporations, the DOE and several different technical divisions at LANL until 1994. He also wrote two books; ‘The Youngest Crew" which described his three years as a World War II military pilot, and ‘Golf for the Common Man’ designed to enhance golfers’ enjoyment of the game.

Paul Wagner is survived by his wife of 58 years, Carroll Sue, two sons, Stephen of London, Michael Wagner M.D. and his wife Susan, of Espanola, NM, two grandsons, Adrian and his wife Becky, Scott, and his great grandson Arlo Paul.

The memorial service will be at 10am on Friday August 16th at St Mary's Episcopal Church on 1500 Chelwood Park Blvd NE 87112 in Albuquerque. There will be a reception following the service, which everyone is welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to your favorite charity.