Charlene Fortun Wagner died August 31, 2020, at the age of 82.
She was born February 20, 1938, in Lafayette, Louisiana, to Leota Wills Fortun and Charles Albert “Frenchie” Fortun.
She graduated from Arabi High School in Arabi, Louisiana; obtained a bachelor’s degree in English and History from Southeastern Louisiana College (1959); and a Masters in Library Science from Louisiana State University (1969). A native of New Orleans, she also lived in Millington, Tennessee, and died at home surrounded by her family and the Magdalena Mountains of New Mexico.
A woman whose formidable intelligence and ability was expressed in many ways, what she touched in life flourished: her marriage of 61 years, her two daughters, her many friendships, her career as a librarian and library administrator in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and in Memphis, Tennessee, her community activism, and her beautiful homes and gardens set in harmony with the natural world she loved.
She was an avid reader and lover of literature, and a great cook who, wherever she lived, was appreciated for her New Orleans red beans and rice and gumbos. She loved wildlife and birding, and cared about conservation and the environment.
Charlene is survived by her husband, Charles Azby Wagner, Jr.; a daughter Robin Wagner of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; adaughter Leslie Wagner and sonin-law Sebastien Dryepondt of Knoxville, Tennessee; a sister Bobbie Diebold and brother-in-law Robert Diebold of Front Royal, Virginia; nieces Dana Lively of Front Royal and Andrea McRae of Roswell, Georgia. Preceded in death by niece Bonnie Craft, and by her beloved standard poodle, Bailey.
Due to COVID 19, a celebration of Charlene’s life will be announced at a later date. Condolences can be sent to Charles Wagner at P.O. Box 252, Magdalena, N.M. 87825. Contributions in lieu of flowers to The Nature Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and the Sierra Club.