For the majority of his 83 years, Anson “Andy” Wager, Jr., who died Dec. 26, 2014, lived his life by the law of the Boy Scouts: duty to God, country, self and others.
Whether serving as a young cub scout, in the Navy or Marine Corps, as a scoutmaster, and then chairman of the Camden Diocese’s Scouting Youth Ministry Committee, Mr. Wager never forgot these ideals.
“He was a great inspirational leader,” remembered Gregory Coogan, director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Camden. “He was a man of dedicated faith, and dedicated service to the diocese.
Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Mr. Wager became a Boy Scout at the age of 9. Entering the United States Navy in 1948, he served in Korea, before transferring to the Marine Corps, where he was a hospital corpsman for 10 years.
After returning to the Navy, he served with the Seabees, until retiring as a Chief Petty Officer in 1974.
In 1959, he received a bachelor’s degree from Utica College of Syracuse University, and in 1962, began a career with United Way of Camden County, until retiring as acting president in 1994.
After serving as president of the Alpha Phi Omega scouting fraternity, he became a professional scouter with Boy Scouts of America.
Later, he became Scout Master to Boy Scouts in Troop 96 in Barrington and, as an Eagle Scout himself, helped others achieve that honor, and eventually became chairman of the diocese’s Scouting Youth Ministry Committee.
When he retired in 2009, Mr. Wager became the first-ever recipient of the Bishop’s Scouter Award for his meritorious service as the General Scouting Chair of the diocese.
After his retirement, he continued his involvement with the scouts, particularly as organizer of the field Mass services inside and outside the diocese, which included activities at Camp Roosevelt in Woodstown and on the U.S.S. Battleship New Jersey.
On the battleship, Mr. Wager also volunteered as a docent, assisting with youth encampments, and assisted with several restoration projects.
In addition, he was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of the Haddons, where he served as Past Distinguished President, and Past Lt. Governor.
Joe Brennan, current chairman of the diocese’s Scouting Youth Ministry Committee, succeeded Wager in 2009, and fondly recalled his friend of 20 years. “Helping others, that was Andy,” he said. “In his ministry, he reminded everyone that God is the heart and soul of scouting. Andy will be sorely missed, but I know he is looking down, and guiding our work.”
Husband of the late Kathleen (nee Mulvey), and brother of the late Ida Stanton, Mr. Wager was the father of Richard, James, Thomas, Janet Chapman, John, Paul, and Mary Boltz; and grandfather of Kasey, JeRee, Caiden, Craig, Timothy, Joshua, Jennifer, John, Jr., Tonya, Stephen, and Charles.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 3 at St. Francis de Sales Church, Barrington. Interment, with military honors took place privately at Brg. Gen. Wm. C. Doyle N.J. Veterans Cemetery in Wrightstown. Donations may be made to the U.S.S. Battleship New Jersey at www.battleshipnewjersey.org.