WESTON, Conn. – Barbara Jane Wagner, Weston’s first selectman from 1973 to 1975 and the town's first police chief, died at her home Nov. 21 after a brief illness. She was 85.
According to family records, she was the first woman elected to lead a town government in Connecticut. She established a “Weston Hotline” directly into her home and invited town residents to call anytime with concerns.
She also created the town’s first Police Department in 1974 and served as its first chief. The town was patrolled by a private state trooper before the police department was established.
Wagner also worked in various positions in Town Hall and was a longtime board member of the Aspetuck Land Trust.
She moved to Weston in 1955 and lived in the same house for 57 years. She and her husband, Walter Wagner, raised four children who attended Weston public schools.
Born in New York in 1927 and raised in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, N.Y., Wagner graduated from the High School of Music and Art and then attended Finch Junior College.
She was an active volunteer for political, charitable and other organizations. She was a member and staunch supporter of the Westport Community Theater, producing many shows over the years and occasionally appearing on stage.
She worked for years at the Westport Homeless Shelter. Most recently, Wagner enjoyed working with the Westport Women’s Club and serving in the Altar Guild at Christ and Holy Trinity Church in Westport.