About Robert Ferdinand Wagner, III
Robert Ferdinand Wagner III (January 6, 1944 – November 15, 1993), also known as Robert (Bobby) Ferdinand Wagner III, was a noted New York City civic leader who served as the Deputy Mayor of the City of New York, and President of the New York City Board of Education. He is often confused with his father of the same name, Robert F. Wagner Jr., who served as Manhattan Borough President and Mayor of the City of New York when Robert III was a little boy. He was also the grandson of Senator Robert Ferdinand Wagner I. He changed his name to Robert F. Wagner Jr. after his father dropped the 'Jr'.
Robert III was the son of Robert Ferdinand Wagner II and his first wife Susan. Robert III was nine years old when his father, the Manhattan Borough President, was elected to the first of three terms as the Mayor of The City of New York. He was educated at the Buckley School in Manhattan, Phillips Exeter Academy, graduated from Harvard University in 1965, and then earned a master's degree in public education from Princeton University.
Wagner was an elected City Councilman-at-large in Manhattan. He lost the Democratic primary for Manhattan Borough President (his father's old job) to Andrew Stein in 1977, which seemingly ended the possibility of Wagner ascending to higher elected office. He served as Deputy Mayor for Policy, Head of the City Planning Commission, Head of the Health and Hospitals Commission, and President of the New York City Board of Education under New York City Mayor Edward Koch. More noteworthy, Wagner served as a Senior Policy Adviser to New York City mayors and New York governors for over twenty years. Primarily a Democrat, he supported Republican-Liberal Rudolph Giuliani in his candidacy for mayor against David Dinkins. At the time of his death, Wagner was serving as Senior Policy Adviser to Mayor-Elect Rudolph Giuliani of New York City, who was expected to return Mr. Wagner to his post as a Deputy Mayor; was chairman of the civic group Citizens Union; was vice-president of a polling organization he founded, LH Research; and had expressed an interest in joining the Democratic Presidential administration of Bill Clinton in an urban capacity- his expertise.
On November 15, 1993, Wagner was found dead of natural causes in his hotel room in San Antonio, Texas, while researching a book he was writing on urban America. He had complained of flu-like symptoms to friends in the two days preceding his death, but had not sought medical treatment. He was survived by his younger brother Duncan. A memorial service was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral.