Carriere fire chief Wagner dies

Published 2:19 pm Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The flag in front of the Volunteer Fire Dept. here was flying at half-mast this week, honoring a fallen first-responder, Fire Chief Thomas Frank Wagner, 56, who died on Monday, following a valiant struggle with cancer.

Friends and family mourned the death of a man whom they said loved his community and sacrificed greatly to serve it.

A family spokesperson said Wagner passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving family at his home The Woods in Picayune.

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Funeral services are planned for Thursday at 11 a.m. at McDonald Funeral Home in Picayune.

Visitation is today (Wednesday) from to 9 p.m. at McDonald Funeral Home.

Interment will consist of burial of his ashes at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg and spreading of his remaining ashes over the Bogue Chitto River, where he spent his youth, and erection of a stone marker in the Wagner family section of Greenlawn Cemetery in his native Summit.

Chief Wagner has been chief of the Carriere department since 1997.

Said John Huck, who met Wagner and worked with him through Friends of Boley: “He was just a great guy, always willing to help and very knowledgeable about how to go about getting things done and accomplished. He was a great help to our organization.”

Said County Coroner Derek Turnage, “He was just a great person, a great guy to live next door to. There was not anything he would not do for you if he thought you needed help. He was involved with so many things and helped the community in so many ways. It is a great loss for our community and for all of Pearl River County.”

Deacon Doug McNair will officiate at the funeral services.

Wagner graduated from McComb High School, and then from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in criminal justice and a masters degree in urban and regional development with an emphasis in emergency planning.

He and his wife, Mary Lanice Logue Wagner, were married for 34 years and met at Ole Miss where he proposed to her in the Grove.

Wagner was an avid outdoorsman, fishing, hunting, boating and mountain hiking, and was a purple martin enthusiast.

He was a member and supporter of Friends of Boley and a member of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune.

He grew up in Scout Troop 143 in Summit, led by his father and grandfather, and his commitment to the Scouts was total, say his friends. He was an assistant scoutmaster to his son Taylor’s Troop 2 in Picayune, and was extensively involved in Troop 2 since 1998.

He has received many Scout awards, including the Pine Burr Award, given to him by the Pine Burr Area Council for his leadership and help.

He worked for the past 30 years in the safety and emergency response field with Shell Oil Co. He also functioned as an emergency medical technician and, of course, as Chief of the Carriere Volunteer Fire Dept. since 1997.

During Hurrricane Katrina, he served as the county’s EOC deputy incident commander. He was a certified State Emergency manager, also.

He also was a former instructor for the State Dept. of Wildlife Conservation Hunter Safety Course.

Wagner is survived by his wife, Mary Lanice Logue Wagner of Picayune; a son, Scott, of Carriere; daughter, Casey Wagner Pierce of Hattiesburg; a son, Taylor of Hattiesburg; a grandchild, Mackenzie Pierce; and step-grandchild, Mason Pierce, both of Hattiesburg; his mother, Gladys Wagner, St. Catherine’s Village, Madison; father and mother-in-law, Otto and Bernice Logue of Vicksburg; brother and sister-in-law, David and Alice Logue of Pleasant View, Tenn.; brother and sister-in-law, Kevin and Michelle Logue of Vicksburg; aunt, Edythe Holmes of Baton Rouge; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Wagner’s name to the Carriere Fire and Rescue, PO Box 46, Carriere MS 39426; Boy Scout Troop 2, 214 White Chapel Road, Carriere MS 39426; or Friends of Boley, PO Box 1365, Picayune MS 39466.