Dr. Leon Wagley
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Dr. Leon Wagley passed away at the age of 89 on July 2, 2010, in Las Cruces, N.M.
Leon was born to John and Katie Wagley on April 22, 1921, in Forrest, N.M., (outside of Clovis) on the family farm, where he was the third of six kids. There were lots of long, hard days on the farm, but his love of learning and agriculture eventually led him to New Mexico A&M, now NMSU, where he graduated in 1947 with a degree in Ag Education. He taught Vocational Agriculture at Deming High School from 1947-59', which he would say later was one of his most rewarding experiences.
While teaching in Deming, he met his wife of 50 years, Anna Irwin, who was the girls' Physical Education Teacher. He completed his Masters Degree from NMSU in '55 and his Doctorate at the University of Arizona in '64.
During the next several years, he was the State Supervisor of Agriculture in Phoenix, and then started the Northern New Mexico State Vocational School in El Rito -- now in Espanola. Finally, his Aggie blood brought him back to Las Cruces as the Head of the Agriculture and Extension Education Department. This was the dream job for the young professor, and now with son Ernest in tow, the family put down roots in Las Cruces, where Anna still lives to this day.
Teaching agriculture and leadership was his passion. He believed that "when the student has failed to learn, the teacher has failed to teach," and he dedicated his career to helping the lives of his students. He would travel the region along with Dr. Paul Vaughn, his friend and assistant, to ensure that every one of his students had a job when they graduated from college.
During his tenure at NMSU, he gave hundreds of speeches, received numerous awards including Teacher of the Year and Most Outstanding Alumnus, and served on the Athletic Council, President of the Alumni Association and Booster Club.
When he retired in '91 after 25 years of service at NMSU, he did not want to leave the "kids." He believed he had more to offer, and so he continued his involvement in the National FFA Organization where he was a conference supervisor until a couple of years ago. In his later years, he would walk the mall, attend Aggie sporting events, watch bull riding daily and enjoy the company of his son Ernest, daughter-in-law Lisa(Finke) and grandkids Sydnie, 12, and Carson, 5, all of Keller, Texas.
He and Anna would travel the region in their Airstream Trailer, enjoying fishing, camping, seeing family and friends, and especially catching up with former students.
Leon will be buried in Deming, N.M., at a later date, and there will be no funeral, only a celebration of his life at the Stan Fulton Center by the Aggie Memorial Football Stadium, NMSU on July 24 from 1 to 3 p.m.
He was a great man, daddy and husband.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Deming Headlight from Jul. 15 to Jul. 19, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
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45 entries
August 12, 2010
Wagley Family,

Just read of Dr. Wagley's passing in the New Mexico Stockman and we are flooded with memories. Jack knew him from his FFA days 1966-1972, attending NMSU in the early 70's and participating on the NMSU Livestock Judging Team. I met him at the 1994 State FFA Judging and NM State FFA Convention and was impressed with his persona. Our oldest son Brandon had the privilege to work with him in livestock judging at the 1995 National FFA Convention as assistant supervisor, chauffeur and friend. Oh the marvelous stories he returned home with. Kami our daughter knew him casually as the "Chile Connoisseur". Kolbyn & Stuart our youngest sons worked with him during their state officer terms 2001-2004. We will forever remember his endearing support of FFA and the personal attention given to our family including a very special phone call in the fall of 2004. Thanks for sharing him with the "Joy Family", NM FFA and National FFA we are blessed.

Jack, Diana, Brandon, Kami, Kolbyn & Stuart Joy
Diana Joy
August 1, 2010
Dear Mrs. Wagley and Family, I just heard of Dr. Wagleys' passing to Heaven. As one of his former AXED students at NMSU, I have often thought of his wisdom throughout my life after college. He was such a good motivator and led by example. Most of all, he was a good friend and always sought the positive in all. He will be missed by all who knew him. I'm certain he is in the "big classroom in the sky" motivating Angels as we speak. God Bless you all for sharing an extraordinary man with so many others.
Ken Jones
July 25, 2010
Anna, Our deepest condolences to you and your family. Dr. Wagley had everything to do with me getting my Bachelors and Masters Degree. He was one of a kind. My Ag days at Deming High and college days at NMSU with him are my greatest memories. Always helping everyone and looking after them. He will be missed by everyone.

Danny & Betty Trujillo
Socorro, NM
July 22, 2010
I always wanted to follow in Dr. Wagley's footsteps. I have continued to
help kids with their show animals like he did for so many others. I will miss
seeing him again and send my condolences to you and your family.
He always made me feel like I was important and cared about my future.
I remember he brought the Ag group to the Air Base and took me out
to dinner and made me feel very important.
Richard Lawyer, Deming High School 1956
(Silver City, NM
July 22, 2010
I always wanted to follow in Dr. Wagleys
footsteps. I have been able over years to help 4-H and FFA kids with their show animals just like he helped me and so
many others. I will miss seeing him again and send deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Richard Lawyer, Deming High School 1956
Richard Lawyer
July 21, 2010
Deming High, the FFA Venison Fry, the County Fair and auctioning of the animals by our classmates...Mr.Wagley made it interesting and welcomed Miss Irwin's girls. He set a great example in education and leadership. In sympathy...Martha Siegling Luke --Citrus Heights, Ca.
July 20, 2010
Anna & Ernest,
Although I met you many years ago, you may not remember me. Dr. Wagley’s persistence of continuing my education when I was an undergraduate was so influential that he recruited me into AXED where I received my Master’s in ’91. I was part of the last cohort before he retired. I will always remember his humor, our trips to California and Kansas City and the lessons he taught me while doing my student teaching and in the college classroom. Needless to say, he was a direct influence in my life in pursing more education…and always will be. Next to my father, he was the most influential person in my life. Without a graduate degree my opportunities would have been limited, but thanks to him and his vision for me, he sent me on a better path. Thank you for sharing such a caring and compassionate human being with us for all those years he gave of himself so unselfishly. He was a mentor, friend, and teacher to all of us who knew him well. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten. We love you Dr. Wagley. May you rest in peace. Edward
Edward Romero
July 20, 2010
Mrs. Wagley,
Thank you and Ernest for your support of your husband and father, allowing all of us (Dr. Wagley's students) to be taught and learn from such an extrodinary man. I was always amazed at his knowledge and caring. He remembered everyone, not only the person, but their families and lives. I will forever be grateful and know that I have been blessed by being associated with Dr. Wagley. My sympathy and prayers go out to you.
Saundra Castillo
July 19, 2010
Dr. Wagley influenced my life in so many ways. He was one of those people that this world truly needs more of. He made me feel as though he truly cared about me and my future. Many fond memories of him driving myself and Ernest around as kids, with his pipe going and his booming voice welcoming me into their house. My condolences to my friend Ernest, and Mrs. Wagley.
Rob Avilucea
July 19, 2010
I was one of Dr. Wagley's students in the AgEd program. After one meeting he made me feel like family. He never forgot a name or face and made us all know how much he cared about his college, his program, and most of all his kids! He was a true mentor for his students and will always be my hero....Thanks for sharing Dr. Wagley with all of us.

Jack Wiley "72" "88"
Jack Wiley
July 19, 2010
Anna, We send our deepest sympathy to you and your family.
Norman and Deleen Ruebush
July 19, 2010
Anna and Ernest,
My mentor Dr. Wagley always made me feel I was striving to be the best I could be for all my students. His firm hand shake and caring words asking about my happenings everytime I met up with him seemed to inspire me with more energy as I left him. I already miss him, although my last recent conversation with him at Casa Bella was a very positive memory to last me what is left of my lifetime. He will always be a leader. His charisma will always be with me. He remembered our Kansas City trips traveling together, my first day in his leadership class, and he encouraged me to stay in education throughout these tough times. My prayers are with you, I will see you on the 24th. Ralph Ramos
Ralph Ramos
July 18, 2010
Dr. Wagley, a great man in my life. He and Paul Vaughn made quite a team at NMSU. I credit him with starting me on the road to success in my career.
He will be missed!
David Oakes
July 18, 2010
Mr. Wagley had a great influence on me. Sorry to hear of his passing. Carroll Thrash Deming High 1958. Now live in Greenbrier, Arskansas.
July 16, 2010
Dear Anna,

Love and prayers are with you and your family during these days. You and your husband were such a fine influence on we DHS students who had the honor to know you!
Carol Nicklas
Carol Nicklas
July 16, 2010
Anna-I honestly feel my time with Leon changed me. He was my teacher and friend while in high school and we shared a ride to A & M my first summer there. Considering me a “city boy” it became one of his tasks to teach me the importance of farming. I knew not why he took me to FFA meetings and had me listen to the basics of judging a farm animal. It was his gift to me. I will always remember his unpretentious grin while he watched me experience a litter of pigs being born. He was a hands-on teacher and as a city boy, he wanted to expose me to the life of a farmer. I learned to inject animals and even on one occasion the castration of what I guess was a small bull. He taught me to respect the labor of those that put food on the table. He had a deep concern that the farmer was being forced into more challenging situations through regulations made by politicians oblivious to the life of a farmer. He wanted respect through understanding and not through misguided legislation.
Leon - I, like many, will always respect how you performed what you felt was your duty here on earth. You did it well and those you touched will certainly remember.
Richard Flores, DHS'51
Richard Flores
July 16, 2010
Another Hough kid checking in. Long after Leon had moved away from Deming, the mere mention of his name at the dinner table just lit up the room. Remembering now that my dad, John Hough, went with him as a chaperone on an FFA trip to Kansas City, and John always had fond memories of that. The grief will never be gone, but the memories of him will comfort you forever. God Bless the Wagley family.
Tom Hough
July 16, 2010
Anna--so sorry to read of Leon's passing. I can recall what a positive impact he had on Deming High School in the late 40s. He was so well liked and respected that he was able to bridge the gap between competing factions and get people to work together. It was obviously a harbinger of the successes he would have thereafter. We are in the process of moving back to Las Cruces from North Carolina and will hope to see you at an Aggie event. Vaya con Dios--Leo Mihas, DHS 49
Leo Mihas
July 16, 2010
Dear Anna & Family;
Our condolences & prayers are with you & your family. We have many fond memories of "Miss Irwin" in our DHS days & of a great union with "Mr Wagley". This is our coming up 50th class reunion & we've enjoyed seeing you both at past old timers & other reunions. We used to talk about "match making " in high school & we are sure yours & Leons was one of the "great ones".

A special thanks for being such good influences for all of our classes.

Fondly remembered:Patricia Castleberry Snow, Kineth, & the Class of 1960,61,62
patricia snow
July 15, 2010
Dr. Wagley sure made a difference in my life as a young ranch kid who went off to college. He always encouraged me even after I finished and started teaching. I got a note from him once or twice a year that always made my day.
Tod Pinnell
July 15, 2010
Dr. Wagley, you were such an influence on so many lives, including mine. I was not a student of yours, but you always treated me as such.
Martie Russell-Doby Smith
July 15, 2010
Dear Anna &Family,
Memories - Memories of the days Dr. Wagley helped Nora and the FFA staff, even after he retired. His interest and support were appreciated. Even after Nora retired, she enjoyed helping him with his National FFA itinerary and Christmas letter. Thanks for the memories
With love and prayers,
Nora and Norman Smith
July 14, 2010
I was just an infant when Leon lived at Grandmother's in Deming, but to this day his room in her home (she was Susie Noyes) is known to us all as "Leon's Porch." Leon was like another uncle to us Hough kids who grew up next door. My sympathy to the family. You miss him but he's in a great place now, with lots of good company.
Marjorie Hough Lewis
July 14, 2010
Dr. Wagley encouraged my friend Fred Gerk and I to pursue our Master's degrees in Ag and Extension Education. He guided us course by course (one course per semester) until we achieved our goal in 1967. He was always available if we needed help. Anytime I met him over the years, he always had time for a visit, and was interested in what I was doing. Dr. Wagley was a true friend and mentor.
Emmit Brooks
July 13, 2010
Over the years, when I was asked who influenced me in my life and career, I never failed to include Dr. Wagely. I was active in FFA in high school in the 1970's and could not wait to go to NMSU to study to be an ag teacher. Although I ended up getting a BA and an MA in history at NMSU, I combined the two and focused on agriculutural history and went on to teach high school and college. He was genuine and fair and gave me a great foundation for my life and career. I always meant to write him a note stating what I just said but I want you, as his family and friends, to know his wide-ranging impact.
Ruleen (Lazzell) White
July 13, 2010
Dr. Wagely was one of those people that touched so many lives. I will always remember, and have thought about over the years, his constant positive attitude and joy for life. My condolences to his family.
K.C. Jones
K.C. Jones
July 12, 2010
Dear Mom and Ernest,

Like so many, Dad taught me a lot, even though I was never in his class. Y'all were a lot of the reason I finished NMSU, and I will always appreciate you encouraging me. I think often and very fondly of meals around your table and Dad grilling steaks with his squirt bottle handy to keep from burning down the house with his grill! Thank you for allowng me to be part of the family.
Rob Cox
July 12, 2010
Leon ("Dad") was a friend to everyone and loved his students. Even though Tina and I never had the chance to be one of his students he and Anna ("Mom") took us in as part of the NMSU Cheerleaders and our relationship has lasted a lifetime. One of my best memories is Dad cooking steaks on the BBQ on Sundays for lunch and then all of us watching football. We loved him so much and will miss him.
Don Hardenbrook
July 12, 2010
Dr. Wagley was a true force of nature. He could be tenacious and gracious at the same time. If he felt there was potential in you for success, and he felt that way about everyone, he would gently steer you in the direction you needed to go. He is directly responsible for my becoming a teacher. My regrets go to Anna and Ernest and his family. He is a man who will be missed.
Fred Beverage
July 12, 2010
Dr. Wagley's encouragement, support and friendship helped me finish at NMSU, and he was certainly always a force in my life. Thank you Lord for letting us have him for awhile.
Jody Sullivan
July 11, 2010
As a trainer agent in Dona Ana County, I worked closely with Dr. Wagley to develop an Extension "student agent" program for Vo. Ag. majors, similar to the Vo. Ag. student teacher traning program in schools. We later reconnected when I was County Extension Director in El Paso County and we developed a student agent program there. He was one of my favorite people. Larry A. Brown, Ph. D., former County Extension Agent 4-H, Dona Ana County.
July 11, 2010
We will miss you Uncle Leon! I remember visiting El Rito as a kid and I am so glad that my Mom and Dad were able to travel with me to Las Cruces for a visit years ago. Ernest and Anna - I am thinking of you. Love you.
Valerie Walker
July 10, 2010
My sincere condolences with assurance my many wonderful memories of Leon will be cherished. Stan Smith, Ph.D., Prof. Emeritus, NMSU
Stan Smith
July 10, 2010
I am the son of Leon's older sister. He was my favorite uncle. He always had a joke to tell me to keep me laughing. My prayers go out to Anna and Ernest
Ron Hull
July 10, 2010
My condolences Grady Thrash,Deming N.M.
Grady Thrash
July 10, 2010
Dear Annna & Family,
I was one of Dr Wagley's students at Deming durning the early 50's.My life has been blessed by three men,my Dad,Dr Wagley and Dr Dawson.Dr Wagley's encouragement to keep on trying motovated me to go to college.Dr Wagley taught more than just sgriculture,from how to tie a neck tie to strive to be the best we could be at what ever we were trying to do.
Anna you have our deepest thoughts and prayers.

Marshall & Frances Scott
Marshall Scott
July 10, 2010
July 9, 2010
I was fortunate to know Leon in Arizona and then at NMSU. His enthusiasm for his students and the profession of education were hallmarks of my memories of him. We extend our condolences to his wife and family. Bob and Mary Ann Gilliland
Bob Gilliland
July 9, 2010
My sincere and heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your Dad and I worked together on the Athletic Council back in 1980's. Our paths crossed from time to time over the years. It was always a pleasure to be in his company. I will try to make the Celebration of Life at the Fulton Center.
Jack Welch
July 9, 2010
Anna and Ernest...what a man we have all lost. Dr. Wagley is why I moved out of New Mexico to puruse more education. Dr. Wagley, in his most unique way always made you feel like he cared about you and wanted you to be the best you could be. I have lost my two mentors (Dr. Wagley and Dr. Vaughn), however the lessons learned will be with me the rest of my life. I only pray that someday I will be as good an educator as Dr. Wagley was to me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the extended family. See you on July 24. Jamie
Jamie Cano
July 9, 2010
He was one of the reasons that I went into the teaching field myself. He made a difference!
~Sabine Green, NMSU
July 9, 2010
I was one of his many, many students. He shaped my first impressions as a freshman at New Mexico State University, the College of Agriculture, and the field of Ag Extension. Though I didn't complete the path of bachelor's in AXED he started me on... I often thought of him years later when I received a Master's in AXED after he had retired, and wondered if he'd chuckle and smile and say to himself... "Aha! We got her anyway!" Condolences to you and thank you for sharing this kind man with all of us for so may years. -- Barbara Chamberlin
July 9, 2010
Dear Anna, Ernest and Family,

Dr. Wagley not only made an impact in education; but to the people who knew him, he was a great friend and colleague. His memory was extraordinary--he never forgot a face or a name.

We were all lucky to have him in our lives. You are still family. God Bless you.
Daniel and Lupe Flores
July 9, 2010
many good memorys dan&pat lowry family
July 9, 2010
Being the sister-in-law to Leon's sister, I was able to witness what a good man he always was. My last memory of him was walking his elderly sister in her drive way, so she could get the exercise she needed. Our love and prayers go out to his lovely wife Anna, and his son & family. Glida & Royce Pitts, Bedford Tx.
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