Bonnie & George Waggoner

Obituary of Bonnie & George Waggoner

Bonnie Mae Waggoner
    Born May 28, 1922
   St. Joseph, Illinois

 Died February 6, 2018
    Sterling, Virginia

Bonnie Mae Waggoner passed away on February 6, 2018 at the Johnson Center, Falcons Landing, Sterling, Virginia.  Bonnie was a resident at Falcon’s Landing since 1999 and a loyal member of 2 bridge groups during most of those years.

Bonnie was born on May 28, 1922 in St. Joseph, Illinois, a small farming community 10 miles from Champaign-Urbana.  Her parents, Thomas Henry Brittingham (known as Henry, born Apr. 7, 1897)) and Beatrice Mae Stayton (born  Aug . 10, 1900), were long-time residents of the area.  Beatrice was the oldest of 10 Stayton children.  Bonnie had a younger sister, Betty Jean (born Aug. 8, 1924).  They grew up in Illinois, Fond du Lac , Wisconsin,  and Arlington, Virginia before returning to St. Joseph where Bonnie  graduated from high school in 1940.

Bonnie spent most of her early years (from age 2 or 3 on) living with her beloved Aunt Gretchen Stayton Carter and Uncle Horace M. Carter (Auntie G & Uncle Mac).  They treated Bonnie as their own daughter  for many years, living in the Champaign Urbana area.  Beatrice, a tiny woman never over 100 pounds,  died from nephritis in May 1935.

Bonnie worked at the University of Illinois YMCA, until she married George Raymond Waggoner on August 16, 1941. George, a graduate of the University of Illinois was a history teacher and basketball coach at the nearby Thornburne  Junior High School. He also earned a Masters degree in Education from Illinois in June 1941. Following Pearl Harbor, George was drafted into the Army in January 1942. Bonnie moved back to live with Auntie G and Uncle Mac while George was in training.  He graduated from Officer Candidate School just after the birth (Dec. 22, 1942) of their first son, Ronald Gordon in Champaign. George saw Ronald for the first time on January 13, 1943 when he was home for a week between assignments.   A couple weeks later, Bonnie and baby Ronald joined George in Washington, DC where he had already begun his new assignment.   

Following OCS, George was assigned to the Pentagon in Army Intelligence (G-2). Gary Stayton, their second son was born Sept. 17, 1946. In 1947, George, then a Major, left Active Duty to join the newly created Central Intelligence Agency, where over his career, he served as an Analyst, Branch Chief and eventually Chief of the Geography Division. From 1952-1953, Bonnie and sons accompanied George on assignment to the US Embassy in London as a liaison to British Intelligence. The family made transatlantic voyages on the original Queen Mary and the USS United States. They returned to Alexandria, Virginia in August 1953 . During his career in CIA, George continued to serve in the US Army Reserves, rising to the rank of Colonel. He retired from CIA in 1974.

In November 1969, Bonnie became a grandmother with the birth of George Andrew. Over the next 10 years she was rewarded with three more grandchildren, Rebecca Gordon (1972), Gordon Wei-hsiung (1977), and Bonnie Mei-ling (1979). Bonnie’s grandchildren were a continual source of great pride and joy and she was lovingly involved in their lives until her death.

Notable from her employment history, Bonnie worked for several years at Fairways Corporation, a small charter airlines operating out of National Airport, where she was an office manager and stewardess. While there, she was the stewardess on VIP flights for such notables as then Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, and later Vice President Richard M. Nixon. In 1966, Bonnie accompanied her husband George on a 2-month round-the-world trip, which further expanded her life-long interest in world cultures. George retired in 1974, and they moved from Alexandria, Virginia to Clearwater, Florida where they lived happily for 23 years. They travelled extensively both domestically and internationally until George passed away in 1997. Following his death, Bonnie moved to Falcon’s Landing and continued frequent  travels with her sons until her early 90’s.  A devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Family was always a centerpiece in her life.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to your favorite charity in honor of George and Bonnie.


George Raymond Waggoner
        Born April 20, 1919
          Formoso, Kansas

    Died September 1, 1997
          Urbana, Illinois

George was born in Formoso, KS on 20 April 1919, the fourth of five children born to Gordon Waggoner and Effie Mae Cook Waggoner.  His father, a Methodist minister, served a variety of congregations in eastern Illinois as George grew up.  In 1936, George graduated from Fisher High School in Fisher IL.  He attended the University of Illinois, majored in geography and graduated in 1940.  He was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Society and Alpha Chi Rho social fraternity.  He received a Masters degree in education from the University of Illinois in June 1941.

George met Bonnie Mae Brittingham in 1938 and they were married August 16, 1941 in St. Joseph IL.  He began a career in education, teaching American History at Thornburn Junior High School in Urbana IL.  After Pearl Harbor, however, George finished the school year and was drafted into the U.S. Army in June 1942.  He attended Officer Candidate School in Gainesville FL, receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant in January 1943. He reported to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and was joined by his wife and infant son, Ronald Gordon, a few weeks later.  George served with G-2- Army Intelligence- at the Pentagon for the remainder of the war, rising to the rank of Major.  In 1946, Bonnie gave birth to their second son, Gary Stayton.  George joined the newly established Central Intelligence Agency in August 1947.  During his 27 years with the CIA, he served as an analyst, a branch chief and a division chief.

In November 1969 George became a grandfather with the birth of George Andrew.  Over the next 10 years, he was rewarded with three additional grandchildren, Rebecca Gordon in 1972, Gordon Wei-hsiung in 1977 and Bonnie Mei-ling in 1979.  George’s grandchildren were a constant source of great pride and joy and he was lovingly involved in their lives.

Following his retirement to Florida in June 1974, George and Bonnie visited frequently with their sons’ families in Denver and Reston and traveled extensively throughout the world.

George’s life which touched many was lived with fullness and joy.  He was a very loving husband, father and grandfather and will be greatly missed.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to your favorite charity in honor of George and Bonnie.