Former county commissioner, clerk had coworkers’ respect

Terry Wagner had the respect of those with whom he worked.

“He was a kind man, he had an aura about him. When you were in his presence, he was a man you would respect,” said Blair County Chief Clerk Helen Schmitt. “I was his assistant. We worked together on everything. He taught me everything I know.”

Retired U.S. Army Col. Terry Lee Wagner, 70, Hollidaysburg, died Thursday at Garvey Manor from Parkinson’s Disease.

A decorated U.S. Army veteran, Wagner retired after 30 years of service including serving a tour in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.

He received numerous awards including the Legion of Merit; two Bronze Stars; two Defense Meritorious Service Medals; three Army Commendation Medals; the Army Achievement Medal; National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Star; Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm and more.

After retiring from the Army, he served as county chief clerk from 1994 to 2006, after which he was appointed a county commissioner for one year.

Wagner was appointed by Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva to fill John H. Eichelberger Jr.’s term when he was elected to the state senate in 2006.

Wagner brought organization to the commissioner’s office.

“I think he helped make that office more approachable. He wanted an open line of communication. Terry changed the whole perception of the commissioner’s office,” Schmitt said. “He also opened up the lines of communication throughout the various offices within the courthouse. He was such a communicator.”

Eichelberger and Donna D. Gority, who served as county commissioners during Wagner’s tenure as chief clerk, speak highly of him.

“Terry was a solid individual in every respect. He was someone who always got his work done at the office. He was very organized and honest, just a Christian family man,” Eichelberger said.

“He was meticulous, he was very thorough and incredibly reliable, he worked for hours and hours. He was always in his office working late. Terry was delightful to work with,” Gority said.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Zion Lutheran Church, Hollidaysburg. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church by Pastor Greg Harbaugh. Interment will be at Presbyterian Cemetery, Hollidaysburg, with military honors.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.