James R. Hagen

James R. Hagen

FROSTBURG - James R. Hagen, 65, died peacefully at his home in Frostburg on May 30, 2006.

A Professor of History at Frostburg State University since 1989, Professor Hagen taught World Civilization, Asian History, the Middle East, World Environmental History and World Religions. Dr. Hagen was also advisor to the History Honorary Society, Phi Alpha Theta, and established an Environmental Humanities minor. He was greatly admired by his students and colleagues.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, he later moved to Ogden. He graduated from Ogden High School, where he played on the school's state championship football team in 1958. He later graduated from Weber State University, and then from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in 1965.

After marrying his high school sweetheart, Mardee Wayment, they joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in India in the state of Rajasthan. Upon his return, Professor Hagen received his master's degree from the University of California in Berkeley in 1969. Their son, Tobin, was born in 1970.

Professor Hagen's years in India left a lasting imprint on his philosophy and subsequent scholarship. Under the guidance of Dr. Walter Hauser, a noted South Asian scholar at the University of Virginia, Hagen received his Ph.D. in 1981. His dissertation focused on the Patna District of Bihar State in Gangetic North India where he returned for further study on two occasions. Dr. Hagen's immersion in the socio-economic dynamics of village life and its environmental conditions, combined with his extensive reading of anthropological and fantasy literature, gave him a rare perspective. He broadened his investigation of the Third World with a team of other scholars for five years as Research Associate in History at Duke University in the 1980s. From that study and ongoing collaboration with Asian scholars in the United States, Dr. Hagen wrote widely acclaimed articles on world human ecology. Failing health prevented him from completing a lengthy study of human separation from natural surroundings evolving over many centuries.

Until his death, Dr. Hagen remained a devoted father to his son and his two daughters born to Myra Hall, to whom he was married for 17 years. His two daughters, Whitney and Brienne, born in 1984 and 1987, became and remained the newest jewels of his life and he in turn to them. Whitney recently graduated from Towson University where Brienne is currently a sophomore.

In Maryland, Dr. Hagen is survived by his daughters, Whitney Hagen and Brienne Hagen; and his former wife, Myra Hall. In Utah, Dr. Hagen is survived by his son, Tobin Hagen; his wife, Diana; his two grandchildren, Kaira and Archer; his two sisters, Margean Jones and husband Glenn and Judy Thorne and husband Larry; his former wife, Mardee Hagen; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Friends will be received at the Durst Funeral Home, P.A., 57 Frost Ave., Frostburg, on Friday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.

In accordance with his wishes, his body will be cremated.

Services will be held in Utah at a later date.

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