Joseph Church Wagner, 97, a lifelong resident of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, passed away on Thursday July 19, 2012. He was the son of the late Joseph White and Winfrie Church Wagner of Signal Mountain.
Mr. Wagner was born in East Lake area of Chattanooga and moved to Signal Mountain at the age of two, graduated from Signal Mountain Grammar School, Dickerson Junior High and Chattanooga High School (class of l933.) He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science for the University of Chattanooga (class of 1937), and Doctor Jurisprudence on scholarship from the University of Tennessee Law School, Knoxville (class of 1940.)
Mr. Wagner was an avid hunter and fisherman. He had the distinction of being the oldest Eagle Scout of Troop 60, attending the first National Scout Jamboree in Washington, DC as a Leader, and as serving as Scoutmaster of Troop 60.
After joining his father to form the law firm of Wagner & Wagner and practicing law for a brief time, Joe accepted a position with the FBI as a Special Agent, serving during World War II in California, Montana and Idaho. He married his college sweetheart, Grey Littleton of Chattanooga, on July 1, 1945 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Mr. Wagner resigned form the FBI in 1946 and returned to Signal Mountain to rejoin his father to the law practice, becoming the senior partner of Wagner, Nelson and Weeks and practicing with sons Richard and Michael until the day of his death. He was proud of having the privilege of making motions before the Tennessee Supreme Court to accept his two sons and one granddaughter to the Practice of Law in Tennessee. He served as the Town Attorney for the Town of Signal Mountain retiring after 50 years and continued to serve as Back Tax Attorney until his death. He was a Charter member of the Signal Mountain Lions Club and Past Chairman of the Chattanooga Chapter of the Society of Former Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"Papa Joe" is survived by his wife of 66 years, Grey Littleton Wagner; children: Bob Wagner, Alice (Sib) Evans, Richard (Sunny) Wagner, Jonathan Wagner, Mary Jo (Rob) Richie, Kathleen (Fred) Robinson, Michael (Joan) Wagner, Patricia (Wayne) Stewart, all of Chattanooga and Cissy (Bob) Coleman of Vicksburg, Mississippi; 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be on Sunday, July 22, from 4-6 p.m. at Chattanooga Funeral Home East Chapel on South Moore Road.
Funeral services will be on Monday, July 23, at 2 p.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Signal Mountain with Rev Mike Nolan officiating. Burial will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, East Ridge.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Walden's Ridge Emergency Service, P.O. Box 215, Signal Mountain, TN 37377, or your favorite charity.