Joseph W. Vagan, an investigator for the Securities and Exchange Commission for 20 years, died at home in Springs on Feb. 2 of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 86 years old.
Mr. Vagan and his late wife, Joan Vagan, lived in Westfield, N.J., and started visiting Springs 40 years ago when her sister and brother-in-law, Eileen and Melvin Tublin, built a house there. “They loved it here,” Mrs. Tublin said. Upon his retirement, they built a place of their own on Norfolk Drive in Clearwater Beach, just a block and a half away.
Born in Bayonne, N.J., on Sept. 15, 1927, he was the youngest of Michael and Anna Vagan’s nine children. He graduated from Bayonne High School, and, at 17 during World War II, enlisted in the Navy. He later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Seton Hall University. He began his professional career at the Peter P. McDermott stock brokerage and rose to become a vice president. He joined the Securities and Exchange Commission after his firm was consolidated with larger ones several times.
Mr. Vagan and the former Joan Wells met when she was a secretary at the Peter P. McDermott firm. Because there was a policy against intra-office relationships, she found work elsewhere so that they could date, her sister recalled. They had been married for nearly 60 years when she died three years ago.
Though they had no children, their niece, Pamela Tublin Cook, was like their own daughter, Mrs. Tublin said. In turn, Ms. Cook’s 31/2 -year-old son, Grant Cook, was like a grandson to Mr. Vagan.
A lover of nature and a birder, Mr. Vagan was a member of the Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society. He volunteered at Cedar Point County Park and at the summertime Fisherman’s Fair in Springs for a number of years. He was also a member of the American Legion.
He is survived by Mr. and Mrs. Tublin, who still live in Springs, and his niece, who lives in Miami Beach. Many other nieces and nephews and great nieces and great nephews, also survive. A brother, Michael Vagan who lived in California, died last weekend.
A Mass of Christian burial is to be held in August at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton and Mr. Vagan’s ashes will be buried next to his wife’s at Calverton National Cemetery.
His family suggested memorial donations to the National Audubon Society, Attn: Audubon Angel, 225 Varick Street, 7th Floor, New York 10014.