Sky Scene 06

Richard T. Wagaman

June 11, 1941 ~ May 6, 2022 (age 80)


Richard T. Wagaman of Keswick, Virginia passed away on May 6, 2022 surrounded by his loved ones. Richard was born in 1941, in Montrose, Colorado. 

Richard was preceded in death by his mother, Mildred Wagaman, and his father, Earle Wagaman. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Wagaman, his sister, Linda Cates, her spouse, Bob Cates, his daughter, Jennifer Harris, her spouse, Steven Harris, his stepdaughter, Austin Hamill, her spouse, Kyle Hamill and beloved grandchildren, Ellie, Anna, Carter and Molly and many other extended family members.

As an aeronautical engineer, Richard spent 40 years in the Washington D.C. area developing and implementing some of the most innovative and influential defense, space and transportation technology, including unmanned vehicles otherwise known now as drone technology.  He spent a significant amount of his career with The Boeing Company. In this position, Richard helped bring the United States and The Boeing Company into a global leadership position in Unmanned Airborne Systems (UAS). He represented the USA UAS Industry on Capitol Hill during the late 1980’s, 1990’s and early 2000’s. As a leader in the industry, he also served as the President for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Through all of his work, he helped to educate the world on the importance of unmanned platforms and sensing in the air, in space, on land and in/on the sea. He was the Chairman of over 30 formal conferences and workshops both inside and outside the United States. Richard was recognized as one of the most influential pioneers in the development of UAS, receiving many awards/recognitions for his contributions. 

Richard loved life and lived it to the fullest. He would light up a room with his vibrant personality and infectious laughter. He treasured every moment with family and friends. He adored his grandchildren, always offering to babysit, take them on beach trips, and play with them every chance he could. Richard was a “Team Grandparent,” often traveling many miles to attend soccer games, gymnastics competitions, swim meets, lacrosse games, dance competitions and track meets. In addition, as a sports enthusiast, you could often find him supporting UVA football, baseball and basketball, as well as the teams from his Colorado roots, the Colorado Buffalos and the Denver Broncos. He also volunteered with many organizations supporting young, emerging students in the science and technology fields. He traveled all over the world, often saying he loved to because “you get to meet many different people in their own setting, not ours.” His warmth, welcoming personality, and incredible smile helped him to make friends in Virginia, Washington D.C., Colorado and around the globe.

A Celebration of Life will be at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1201 West Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 on Thursday, June 2nd at 2pm. We welcome his family and friends to attend.


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