By PAULENE POPARAD
The late Thomas Wagner was warmly remembered Thursday as one of the
individuals responsible for helping form the Westchester Public Library
Wagner, who served at least 20 years as a member of the WPL Library Board,
died last month; a memorial service was conducted Feb. 3.
WPL Director Phil Baugher said Wagner was instrumental in merging the
library in the town of Porter with the contractual library district serving
the remainder of Westchester Township to form WPL in 1972. “He probably more
than anyone put together the deal,” said Baugher, adding that Wagner’s
strength was negotiating compromise, usually behind the scenes.
Wagner, formerly of Porter, served on the Library Board during construction
of Thomas Library in Chesterton and Hageman Library in Porter, and he helped
lobby for public library tax-appeal legislation that enabled WPL to build
its program of service.
“He was very passionate about providing our community with quality library
service,” said Baugher.
Current Library Board member Sue Harris noted “the huge number of things
(Wagner) did for the community” that shouldn’t be overlooked. “He was a very
good man,” agreed Baugher.