Frank A. Wagner Jr., 88, of Pennington, New Jersey passed away unexpectedly on February
17th, 2021. Born on April 19th, 1932, in New Haven, CT, as the second of three children (all
predeceased) to Frank A. Wagner Sr. and Harrietta Ann Hallett. He served as a United States
Air Force Sergeant during the Korean War. Most of his tour was served in Japan. Frank was an accomplished career chemist, holding 15 US patents, many foreign patents, and 2 scientific publications. A dedicated volunteer firefighter, he served as chief of Pennington Fire Company for 3 years. Additionally, he was an active and former member of numerous volunteer organizations. Frank financed his education using the Veterans GI Bill after completing his service. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Yale University in 1958 before going on to receive his PhD in organic chemistry from Rutgers University in 1969. He married Maria Grace Carangelo of Waterbury, CT in 1961 after meeting at American Cyanamid in Stamford, CT, where they were employed as professional chemists.
A quiet man, Frank was true to his permanent convictions, as he was a perfectionist. Not much was needed to be said for you to get to know him, his actions spoke for him. He was impossibly intelligent and kind in a gentle, introverted manner. If you had a question on any topic, he knew the answer. He always loved a good joke or limerick, as well as a good smoke and a cold beer. If you drove in his big, green truck with him, you better crack the window to dissipate the cigarette smoke. His hobbies included a deep love for classical music, playing his trumpet, and listening to his childhood hero, Louis Armstrong. In the 70s, Frank founded the “Wagner Family Band”, enforcing weekly practice sessions upon his sons. Furthermore, he loved his tools, especially his 1930s Pierce Arrow pliers and screwdriver. His other hobbies included genealogy work, as well as producing 8 mm film. A weird gift giver, Frank once gifted his sons a mushroom farm (they hate mushrooms). Most of his unique gifts were products of the Oriental Trading Company and American Scientific Company. Frank was a master do-it-yourself engineer. Some projects included building a Zenith color TV kit, his children’s first minibike, and restoring a vintage car. He also installed four unnecessary horns on his beloved lawn tractor, which included a trolley whistle. Frank did life his way. He loved gardening and spending time with his grandkids. Frank was an avid sci-fi reader, movie watcher, and red wine-maker. He also enjoyed his candies and delicacies.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Maria (Carangelo) Wagner, and four sons Frank A.
Wagner III and wife Kristina Ludwig Wagner of Nathalie, VA, Anthony R. Wagner of
Williamstown, NJ, Stefan H. Wagner and wife Lorri Bardi Wagner of Robbinsville, NJ, and
Nicholas A. Wagner and wife Amy Hibbs Wagner of Ringoes, NJ. He is also survived by seven
grandchildren, Victoria Worley and husband Brian Worley, Gabriel Wagner, Cameron Wagner,
Miranda Wagner, Vanessa Wagner, Julia Wagner, Taylor Wagner, and two great grandchildren, Kayden Worley and Colby Worley.
A memorial service will be held sometime in the spring (exact date TBD) at the Blackwell
Funeral Home in Pennington. The family suggests that people make donations in support of the volunteer Pennington Fire Company or the Pennington New Jersey First Aid Squad, both
located on Bromell Place, in Pennington, NJ 08534.