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In memoriam: Jim Wagner was CIA officer, cattleman

FFRF Member Peter James “Jim” Wagner, age 87, of Thomaston, Ga., died Jan. 22 at Upson Regional Medical Center. 

Jim was born on Oct. 12, 1935, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to Peter J. and Genevieve (Vilsack) Wagner. 

Upon graduating from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Jim joined the U.S. Army. After his duty in the military was complete, Jim was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. Jim served with the CIA for 29 years until he retired and moved to Thomaston with his family in 1986.

In Thomaston, he began a new life learning how to raise cattle, grow pecans, and pursue his passion for learning new things. A true Renaissance man, Jim was a member of Mensa, a published author, beekeeper, winemaker, sailor, photographer, pilot, bird watcher, and accomplished wood worker. He built several stringed instruments, furniture, RC airplanes, and an experimental aircraft.

Jim contributed to his new community by serving as a member of the Upson County Tax Assessor’s Board, the Georgia Cattleman’s Association, and the Georgia Farm Bureau. With his 24 years of service on the Thomaston-Upson County Airport Authority, Jim helped expand the Thomaston-Upson County Airport from a small community airport into a thriving regional airport.