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Warren “Herb” Wagner
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Warren "Herb" Wagner

Warren (Herb) Wagner, Professor Emeritus of Biology died, January 8, 2000, unexpected in Ann Arbor. Professor Warren (Herb) Wagner was a world authority on the evolution and systematics of ferns. In addition, he was widely regarded as the founder of modern day systematics for all groups of plants and animals. He was the first to argue that phylogenetic reconstruction could be made explicit and rational. He then proceeded to construct procedures by which this could be accomplished. Today the phrase "Wagner [phylogenetic] tree" is part of the lingua franca of systematic biologists around the world.

Professor Wagner was richly rewarded for his achievements by many national and international scientific organizations, including election to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and receipt of the Asa Gray Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. He received the Amoco Outstanding Teacher Award in 1980, recognizing his extraordinary love of teaching and manifold contributions to the education of undergraduates, graduates, and laypeople. Although retired, he maintained an active laboratory, and taught half of a large course every fall semester, until his death in January 2000.

He is survived by his wife, Florence, their children, Margaret and Warren, both of Ann Arbor, and two grandsons.