George Francis Wagner Jr. of Bethel passed on May 10, 2020 at the age of 82 after a long struggle with lung disease. He was the son of the late George F. Wagner Sr. and Lillian Culligan and was born on October 15, 1937 in Monticello, NY. He was the father of three children, grandfather to seven and friend to many. He was an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting and fishing throughout his life. His passion was his affiliation and leadership role with the Cherokee Preserve Hunting Club in Bethel where he also made his home. He spent 31 years with the New York State Department of Corrections where he retired as Deputy Superintendent of Security. George also proudly served our country in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was an active member of his community belonging to many local organizations including former member and Captain of the Liberty Volunteer Ambulance Corps., former member of the Liberty Fire Co. #2, Sullivan County Ambulance Coordinator, and Founder of the Sullivan County Ambulance Association. George was also a former Sullivan County Republican Committeeman for the Town of Liberty as well as former Village Trustee for the Village of Liberty, and he served as Sullivan County Republican Chairman. In retirement he was an avid golfer and member of Sullivan County Golf and Country Club.
He will be remembered for his bigger-than-life personality. Having been raised in Sullivan County, he shared many inside jokes with those he knew, and friends were often greeted with a hardy handshake and a cheerful taunt. He was always working on a project whether it be carpentry, mechanical, renovation, or a Cherokee social event, and was the obvious choice for telling a story – especially those with a punch line. He was preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth Haiss Wagner and his sister Betty Wagner Wilson. He is survived by daughter Patricia Wagner Barber and her husband Steven of Great Falls VA, son Andrew and his wife Maureen Shannon Wagner of Monroe NY, and daughter Susan Marie Deighton and her husband Howard of Cochecton NY. Grandchildren include Clayton Barber of Arlington VA, Lillian Barber of Mount Holley NJ, Fiona Barber of Great Falls VA, Shannon Wagner of Syracuse NY, Julianne Wagner of Monroe NY, Natalie Wagner of Monroe NY, and Hunter Deighton of Cochecton NY. He is also survived by his longtime companion Janet Warren of Liberty, NY.
As much as George would have appreciated a large celebration of his life, at this time during the COVID Pandemic, the family is holding a private graveside service at Evergreen Cemetery in Bethel, New York on Saturday May 16th which will be managed by the Colonial Family of Funeral Homes of Sullivan County. Condolence messages can be left at www.colonialfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
The family would also like to thank the doctors and nurses at the Catskill Regional Medical Center Skilled Nursing Unit for providing George with care and compassion at the end of his life. The family also suggests that donations be made to the Sullivan County Sportsman’s Association, 122 Jaketown Road, Swan Lake, NY 12783, Attention: President Jack Danchak. For additional information, please contact Colonial-Ramsay Funeral Home, Kauneonga Lake, at 845-583-5445 or www.colonialfamilyfuneralhomes.com.