Obit: Hagen, Lt. Col. James (1921 – 1964)
Contact: Linda O’Donnell
Surnames: Hagen, Lovold
----Source: Thorp Courier (Thorp, Clark Co., Wis.) 31 Dec 1964
Hagen, Lt. Col. James (? 1921 – 24 DEC 1964)
Stanley Native Killed in Christmas Eve Bombing in Saigon, Viet Nam
A native of Stanley who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a dentist was identified Friday as the American officer killed in the Christmas Eve bombing of a seven-story building in Saigon, Viet Nam.
Lt. Col. James Hagen, 43, son of Dr. and Mrs. A.C. Hagen of Stanley, and an American civilian were killed and 65 others injured in the terrorist attack on the officer’s billet in Saigon.
Hagen’s mother said in a telephone interview Friday that he was due to return to this country and rejoin his wife, Joy, in Oklahoma City. Hagen last saw his parents in August 1963, shortly before he left for Saigon as a dental adviser.
Mrs. Hagen said her son communicated with the family through taped recordings and letters. She said that in a tape received last week, he said, in effect that “you can believe the United States newspapers now. I think they’ve got the situation here covered.”
Mrs. Hagen said her son earlier “seemed to think the papers here exaggerated the situation in Viet Nam.” He said, “It’s not that bad. We don’t like exaggeration.”
Mrs. Hagen said James had set up the dental curriculum at the University of Saigon. She said that his wife joined him in Saigon last February, leaving there about two weeks ago. James and his wife were childless and worked with children at a Catholic orphanage in Saigon.
The mother recalled that a tape from Hagen said, “We had a death rate of 40 babies a month, but we got it down to four.” Mrs. Hagen added that Catholic groups in the Stanley area aided the orphans with gifts of food, vitamins and clothing.
Mrs. Hagen said that her son had “a terrific personality.” While attending high school in Stanley, he was ham radio enthusiast and was also interested in organ music.
During service in World War II, he attended the University of Chicago. He then went to Eau Claire, Wis. State College for two years. Like his father, Hagen was graduated from Marquette University as a dentist in 1950. He entered the Army Dental Corps in 1956.
He and his wife were married in 1945. They also had a home in Fernandino Beach, Fla.
Other survivors include his brother, Dr. Thomas Hagen of Redford Falls, Minn., and a sister, Mrs. D.L. Lovold of Wilmar, Minn.
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