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William Wegner

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Date published: 4/29/2014

William Wegner

William Wegner, 87, of Fredericksburg died Friday, April 18, 2014, at Heartfields Assisted Living.

After an interesting and challenging childhood, Mr. Wegner graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1948. After graduation, he served on a light cruiser and an aircraft carrier, eventually rising to the rank of commander. Over the years, he received Master of Science degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering from Webb Institute and a master's degree in nuclear engineering from M.I.T. In 1956, Adm. Rickover, the "father of the nuclear Navy," selected him for the Navy's nuclear program. He served for 16 years as Adm. Rickover's deputy director. He received Distinguished Service awards from both the Defense Department and the Atomic Energy Commission and an Exceptional Service Medal from the Department of Energy.

In 1979, Mr. Wegner retired from the government and formed Basic Energy Technology Associates with fellow naval reactor retirees. They provided technical services to more than 25 nuclear utilities and to other commercial and governmental organizations. From 1989 to 1992, he provided technical assistance on nuclear matters to the Secretary of Energy. He served on the Detroit Edison board of directors from 1990 to 1999. He also served on the NASA Review Group, which performed an independent assessment of NASA's "Return to Flight" efforts, following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

Mr. Wegner was a devoted family man throughout his life. He took great pride and interest in all of his children's activities and professions, and was especially involved in his sons' bronze art-casting foundry, Wegner Metal Arts in Fredericksburg. He was also an accomplished artist himself. Besides painting and etching, his other favorite activities included ship-model building, boating, fishing, reading and spending time with his family in the Northern Neck.

Mr. Wegner was married to the late Jane Rory Wegner for 59 years. He is survived by five children, four of whom live in Fredericksburg, William Michael Wegner, Steven Wegner, Stewart Wegner and Barbara McConnell, and Paul Wegner of Prather, Calif.; daughters-in-law, Joanna, Sarah and Valorie Wegner; 17 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren. One son, Mark, died in 2007.

A private memorial service will be held at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Service in Fredericksburg, followed by interment in the U.S. Naval Academy Columbarium in Annapolis, Md., at a later date.