Kansas City, Mo. — Robert W. Wagstaff, a longtime supporter of Kansas University and a past president of the KU Alumni Association, died today. He was 82.
He was born Nov. 16, 1909.
Services are pending at Newcomer's Stine and McClure Funeral Chapel in Kansas City, Mo.
KU Chancellor Gene Budig said today that Wagstaff was "a giant" who provided strong leadership as the national president of the alumni association.
"He was a giving person, one who supported numerous KU initiatives in the Kansas City area," Budig said. "He took a deep interest in our academic and athletic programs. He was a giant."
Wagstaff, a Mission Hills attorney and businessman, graduated in 1930 from KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He was a 1933 graduate of the Harvard University law school.
THE FOUNDER and former chairman of the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Mid-America, Wagstaff also was owner and chairman of the Kansas National Bank & Trust Co. in Prairie Village.
He served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in Kansas City, Mo., from 1970 to 1974. Wagstaff had been on the board of directors of St. Luke's Hospital since 1950 and had been president for 17 years.
He was the president of the KU Alumni Association from 1981 to 1982. He was a senior member of the School of Business Board of Advisers and served on the Council for Progress, the volunteer organization for KU's fund drive before Campaign Kansas.
In 1972 he received the Distinguished Service Citation, KU's highest honor, and in 1986 the Fred Ellsworth Medallion for unique and significant service to the university.
HE AND HIS wife, Katherine, in 1989 committed $500,000 to the KU Endowment Association for the establishment of a distinguished professorship of law.
He was a trustee of the KU Endowment Association.
Budig said that he felt a special loss because Wagstaff was a member of the search committee that brought Budig to KU in 1981.
"We feel a profound loss but deep gratitude that he passed our way," Budig said.
Richard Wintermote, director of special projects for the endowment association, said Wagstaff was a "very loyal and dedicated alumnus."
"He didn't just serve. He served with full attention and commitment, and made sure that he had all the information to serve well," Wintermote said.
"He represented KU so well in the greater Kansas City area," he said.
In addition to his service to KU, Wagstaff donated $1.5 million for the Mid America Heart Institute at St. Luke's in Kansas City.
He owned cattle ranches in Kansas and Wyoming.
Survivors include his wife and two sons, Robert Hall Wagstaff and Thomas Walton Wagstaff.
Funeral services will be announced later.