James Leonard Wagner Jr., affectionately known as “Pete” was born on January 10, 1968 to the late Mr. and Mrs. James
Leonard Wagner Sr. and Rebecca L. Wagner. Their middle child and only son, James Jr. was educated in the New York City school system and during his early years developed a love for the game of basketball. Honing his skills at the local community center and following in his fathers footsteps, James Jr. aka “Big Wags” cherished his love of the game and flourished throughout the city of New York. He played in several reputable tournament’s. EBC Rucker park, Ray Diaz and the Goat to name a few. James was a quite force, as he dominated and showcased his talent acquiring many awards. He always brought home the “Gold”- those 7ft skyscraper trophies.
By the time James graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School, his basketball skills were impeccable; earning him a scholarship to Panola College in Carthage, Texas. Where he acquired life long accolades; freshman of the year defensive player. After two years of study, he continued his education under full scholarship at Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana and within a year he signed a contract to start his overseas career. Big Wags played in Turkey Greece Spain and Mexico. Upon his return to the city in 1993, he met the absolute love of his life Anisa Duke after dating for a short period, it was clear to him that they were (are) soulmates. They married in 1994. From their union they were blessed to raise two children together Brielle Christian and James L. Wagner III. James was a serious dedicated father, provider and protector of his family unit. He was a wonderful loving affectionate husband like “NO” other. James was a man that also took such pride within his attire and style of dress, “Always” dapper, from his street wear to his custom tailored suits.
James built his career in the field of security. Extending his sense of protection to everyone he encountered. At the time of his passing James was employed at Columbia University offering 14 years of outstanding service. He was known to many as a “gentle giant, with an ear of compassion”.
Although a private man, his sense of loyalty, calm and resolve was felt by many. He was that “voice of reason”! He will be deeply missed. James is survived by his loving, committed, helpmate forever wife Mrs. Anisa L. Wagner. Two children Brielle Christian and James L. Wagner III. One dear and near to his heart cousin Sophia Wagner, Mother-in-law Gail Taylor, Brother-in-law Jerry Smalls, Jr., Stepfather-in-law Minister Jerry Smalls, Sister-in-law Karen Carey, His adopted into God family: Godfather Ronald Coppedge, Godsister Rashanda Coppedge, Goddaughter Vyktoria Muscio who referred to him as her “Papa P”. Two sisters Shelia Smith and Melissa Wagner - and a host of uncles ,aunts, nieces, nephews, family and friends.
James is proceeded in death by his parents, James and Rebecca Wagner.