Charles Wagner

Obituary of Charles Arthur Wagner

ALBANY- 1957-2020 Charles Wagner died on December 30, 2020, in hospice care in Albany, New York, after a brief struggle with cancer. Charles was born in Philadelphia in 1957 to Doris Mae Macdonald Wagner and Max Mohn Wagner. He grew up in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Lewisburg High School in 1975. He graduated from Bard College in Annadale-on-Hudson, New York, in 1980. His senior thesis on the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci was consistent with his lifelong and ardent leftism. After graduation, he volunteered for the Peace Corps and served in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Those of us familiar with Charles’s skill as a writer can only regret the he never attempted to publish the novel that he wrote based on his time in Zaire. After leaving the Peace Corps, he taught English as a Second Language in Japan, moved back to the United States, and thereafter worked primarily as a writer. In 1990 Charles married Mary Anne (Mopsey) Akey, who survives him. They lived variously in Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New York State, with their much-loved animals Tawny, Justine, and Bodhi. It was a source of some frustration to Charles that financial constraints annulled most of his hopes for traveling. However, he and Mopsey did manage to take two trips to Paris, where he put his excellent French to good use. Previous to his last position as a staff writer for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Charles worked as a researcher and writer for Creative Communications (a company specializing in the production of college catalogs) and as a frequent contributor to the multi-volume reference works World Authors 1900-1950 and World Authors 1985-1990, published by the H.W. Wilson Company. At the time of his death he held the title “public information specialist/web content editor,” which was exactly the sort of bureaucratic moniker that he would have found so amusing. A skillful writer, an accomplished guitarist and pianist, and a pretty fair linguist, Charles was above all else an intellectual. His friends, family, and colleagues can all testify to the ferment of ideas that issued from him in voluble streams of passionate, sardonic, and self-aware discourse. He had no airs, and indeed, his leftism aligned him with those he considered his spiritual confederates – the poor, the powerless, the proletariat. In lieu of flowers, Charles asked that he be remembered by a simpler gesture: Be kind to a homeless person. In addition to Mopsey, Charles is survived by his sister and brother-in-law Sarah Lynn Wagner-Ranes and Mark Thomas Ranes and by their son Zachary, as well as his in-laws Megs, Kevin (Bonnie), Tony (Janine), Stephen (Sayeeda) and their children. To leave a special message for the family, please visit:
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