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Fredric A. Wagner, 81, New Jersey Engineer Who Worked On Space Missions

Fredric A. Wagner
Fredric A. Wagner Photo Credit: Contributed

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N. J. -- Frederic A. Wagner, Hasbrouck Heights native and engineer who worked on gyroscopes used in several space projects including Neil Armstrong's 1969 walk on the moon, died Friday. He was 81.

In addition to building gyroscope components for Armstrong's space flight, Wagner's career including working on gyroscopes for the Hubble Space Telescope, and Apollo and Gemini space missions.

Born Oct. 3, 1934, in Hackensack to Frederick and Margaret Wagner, he grew up in Hasbrouck Heights, and attended Corpus Christi Grammar School. He went on to St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City followed by Manhattan College in the Bronx where he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

While growing up he had several unusual jobs, such as painting the inside of steel beer cans, raising chickens and selling the eggs, and delivering prescriptions on his bicycle.

After earning his degree in 1958, he was hired as an engineer for the Teterboro-based Bendix Corp. guidance systems division where he designed electromagnetic gyroscope components. He had a 35-year career working on gyroscope components for many projects including the Minuteman missle program, in addition to the Hubble Telescope and the space missions.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Dorothy Schiemer, with whom he raised four children in River Vale, N.J.. After retiring from Bendix, he worked with his wife as proprietors of the Wallkill Valley Nursery (formerly known as Wullin's Evergreen Nursery).

He was also active in Boy Scouts, Little League and served as president of the River Vale Board of Education.

He is survived by his second wife of 16 years, Edith, with whom he lived in Barnegat. Other survivors include his son, Edward and his wife Lee, and their children Lauren, Robin and Kristen; his daughter Susan and her husband Joseph; his son James and his wife Karen, and their children Kaitlyn, Danielle and Scott; his daughter Cheryl and her companion Shankar Sathappan.

Visitation is planned for 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday at the C.C. Van Emburgh Funeral Home , 306 E. Ridgewood Ave, Ridgewood. A Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Corpus Christi Church, Hasbrouck Heights.

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