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In memoriam: James Miller Wiggert, associate professor emeritus of civil engineering, College of Engineering


BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 19, 2013 – James Miller Wiggert of Blacksburg, associate professor emeritus of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, died on Sunday, Feb. 17, at Lewis Gale Hospital Montgomery. He was 83 years old.

He was born on October 26, 1929 in McZena, Ohio to the late Rev. Walter Karl Wiggert and Naomi Caroline Miller Wiggert.

Jim attended school in Cleveland, Ohio and Roseville, Mich. After graduating from Roseville High School, he attended Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, before transferring to the University of Michigan where he majored in civil engineering. 

After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree, he worked for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and then joined the Navy Civil Engineering Corps. He received his Master of Science degree from Michigan and taught at Michigan Tech in Houghton. 

After he received his Ph.D. from University of Michigan, he and his family came to Blacksburg in 1962, where he taught hydrology and hydraulics at Virginia Tech until 1991.

Jim was active in campus politics, serving as president of the Faculty Senate and the Reconciliation Committee. He also served on the YMCA Committee for a number of years. He co-authored a textbook titled Applied Hydraulics in Engineering.

Jim is survived by Millie Laitinen Wiggert, his wife of 59 years. Other survivors include John and Jeanette Wiggert, Jane and Miller Williams, Sarah and Mark Duban, and Beth Wiggert; grandchildren James Whitaker, Rachel Whitaker, Jessica Wiggert, and Jamie Wiggert; great grandchildren Hannah Bishop and Landon Bishop; his sisters Lois Luoma and Martha (Mike) Murphy and brother David (Kristie) Wiggert, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church. The family will receive friends at the church following the service.

The family encourages friends and colleagues to sign the online guest book.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 North Michigan Avenue, Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601-2633 or to Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 600 Toms Creek Road, Blacksburg, VA 24060.