Green "T" Thomas Waggener III
Passed away on January 8, 2020
Green Thomas “T” Waggener III, age 67, passed away January 8, 2020 in Koganei-shi, Tokyo, Japan. T was born in Tullahoma, TN to Mr. and Mrs. Green Waggener, Jr. He graduated from Little Flower Catholic School, attended McGill High School, and graduated from Murphy High School in Mobile, Alabama. While in high school, T threw newspapers for the Mobile Press Register, and was a lifeguard for the City of Mobile and the U.S. Coast Guard. After his first year of college, he hitchhiked across the country to California to successfully “meet a girl with flowers in her hair.” When he returned to Mobile, he dug into his classes at the University of South Alabama which began his lifelong pursuit of education driven by his “insatiable curiosity.” His first degree in Geography from the University of South Alabama in led to a variety of experiences that included original research in Cayman Brac, British West Indies, and Guatemala resulting in his first published abstract. He returned to Guatemala where he hitchhiked to Zunil to collect locally made clothes to sell in America. He met ‘Elvis’ in Mobile while working for the Mobile Auditorium, then again he hitchhiked across America where travel included hitching through America to Canada from Calgary to Manning on the Peace River, to Montreal and back to Mobile. In Idaho he helped round up sheep, bareback, on a U.S. Army mare. He worked briefly as a histology technician at Doctors Hospital/Pathology Lab, the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission as a Land-Use Technician, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Core Drill Operator, and Bhate Engineering as a Soil Science Laboratory Supervisor. Gaining an education degree from the University of South Alabama, his initial teaching experience started in the Mobile County Public School System teaching in 4th grade at E.R. Dixon for 2 years, Jefferson County Public School for one year, then Mobile County Training School where he earned tenure and taught Mathematics and Science. During that period, he earned a master’s degree at the United States Sports Academy in Fitness Management and a minor in Sports Medicine. Continuing his commitment to health and fitness, he earned a Masters of Public Health and a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Southern Mississippi. With his doctorate, he first worked at the College of Charleston, SC, as a professor teaching a variety of undergraduate courses in Health Promotion. Next, he attended Florida State University where he earned a MS in Nutrition. He gained further experience at Valdosta State University, GA where he earned tenure as an Associate Professor as Director of the Human Performance Laboratory working on the University Institutional Review Board for use of human subjects in research and was Chair for two years. He was chosen to participate in the inaugural class of the Georgia Board of Regents Executive Leadership. He also earned tenure and Associate Professor status. After Valdosta, he worked at the University of West Florida in the Department of Exercise Science and Community Health teaching Exercise Science and Research courses to undergraduate and graduate students. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and various other publications in areas of personal interest; many can be found on the internet. Since his early years beginning when he was 12 years old, T studied Japanese martial arts. His first experience was two years in Judo at the Mobile Downtown YMCA. T began studying Shotokan Karate his first semester at the University of South Alabama. He never stopped training, with a final achievement of 5th degree. His teaching specialty was Collegiate Karate. He taught Karate at University of South Alabama, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Spring Hill College, University of Southern Mississippi, The College of Charleston, and Valdosta State University. He produced a biography on his Sensei, Mr. Takayuki Mikami, 9th dan Japan Karate Association. From 1965, Sensei Mikami developed Karate-Do in the U.S. Southern region by creating the All South Karate Federation and hosting the annual All South Tournament in New Orleans, now the longest running traditional Karate tournament in the United States. From for almost two decades, T was a ‘visiting’ member of the South Atlantic Karate Association under the leadership of Sensei Shigeru Takashina, 8th dan. T met Ayako Hisamatsu at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1992 and later married. In 2017, they moved to Koganei-City, Tokyo, Japan. They have traveled extensively in central Japan. With Ayako’s help, T returned two ancient Japanese swords to the Tanzan Jinja (shrine), near Osaka. He found the swords in a knife shop in Mobile, AL. One of the swords was signed and dated 1441 and both had red lacquer kanji on them attesting to their origin in Japan. T contacted the shrine and successfully returned them. Originally, the swords were removed by Japanese soldiers during World War II, captured by American soldiers and taken to the USA, then put up for sale. T was preceded in death by his parents, Green Waggener Jr. and Anna Waggener. Survivors include his wife Ayako Waggener; sisters Mary (Larry) Inman and Anna Waggener and brother Harry Waggener; other relatives including Rachel (Bill) Mitcheson, Jessica Inman, Terry Waggener, Cody Waggener, Vance Thompson, Allen Thompson; and numerous friends across the globe. A Chapel Service Celebration of Life will be held in Mobile, AL, on March 7, 2020, 10:00 am, at Pine Crest Funeral Home, Mobile, Alabama. In lieu of flowers (T was allergic to pollen), the family requests memorials be sent to Little Flower Catholic School, 2103 Government Street, Mobile, AL 36606, phone 251-479-5761, where T served more masses in two years than there are days in two years and where he donated his collection of fossils and his father’s books. http://www.school.littleflower.cc/
Little Flower Catholic Church
2103 Government Street, Mobile, Alabama 36606
Celebration of Life
Pine Crest Funeral Home
1939 Dauphin Island Parkway
Green "T" Thomas Waggener III
February 20, 2020
Green T was who started me on the Shotokan path.25 years later I'm still training. I’m glad he came and spent time with us last year. You will be missed. Thank you Sensei, RIP...Osu!
Analiese Roberts Hamn
January 30, 2020
I have been very blessed, as in while growing up, not much deemed very difficult for me, from academics to athletics to art. That was until I found myself in Valdosta State University’s Karate class. There, just to pick up an extra hour required for a scholarship, little did I know how much more I would gain. For Dr. Waggener’s class, I found myself having to focus and train harder than I ever had for the highest level of English or Education class. I was one in a class of about sixty, and I was the beginning base of the bell curve.
On the day of final exam, I had diligently prepared Heian Shodan for assessment, only to find myself paired beside a classmate who was well above my experience and speed. His thrifty performance left me out of sorts and with a merely mediocre form. This was not going to be the conclusion to my most difficult collegiate challenge. After class, I managed enough courage to approach this seemingly stoic professor and ask for the first re-test I had ever needed. It was afterward that he invited me to club.
There, I met so many others who continue to inspire me, including his wife, Ayako. I continued to train for the next four years with T, and his passions, enthusiasms, dedication, and encouragement in training helped support me through Graduate school and my first years of teaching. Who would have imagined that a PE teacher would have such an impact on my Literature classroom? And while I have not trained in years, Dojo Kun still lines my classroom walls and my calloused heels still remind me that so long as you surround yourself with those as passionate as yourself, you will accomplish much.
Ayako, my thoughts and prayers will continue for you and the family.
Thank you T for inviting me to join in on an outstanding group people I would have never met otherwise. Thank you for modeling to so many the joy that can accompany an insatiable curiosity and thirst for education. And thank you for allowing me that second test.
January 23, 2020
T and I had a lot of history together. We met through karate, I believe it was Jimmy Luckey that invited me to a karate exhibition at the University of South Alabama, I connected with that group and I was all in. That may have been in 1973. Walking across campus that year T presented his driver’s license to me, he asked for mine, I thought it weird, he said look at the birth date, we were born on the same day of the same year, that was to make us brother’s for life, born in the year of the dragon. We trained hard together sometimes 6-8 hours a day in all kinds of weather and terrain, all hours of the day and night. Those were intense years.
We fought each other hard. One day in kumite we were totally self absorbed in the dojo. We ran over our time, students came in and sat along the walls in total quiet, about 20 minutes into their time we bowed out, Dr. Boyles came out and said, “ladies and gentlemen that is karate”. T challenged me in many ways to be a better person. On top of the roof of the physical education building at USA in a particularly intense kumite session he did a side thrust kick that picked me up putting me into a chain link fence that I kind of melted down. Surprised, out of breath but laughing I said, “Good one.” To which he started laughing. He was always the teacher.
We have been brothers for life. After a difficult divorce four years ago, losing my house and faced with the reality of moving T was there for support and to help me move out. From a house full to moving into an apartment, he made the hard choices, “Really, you don’t need this!” I couldn’t have accepted that from anyone but him.
Anyway, love you T, goodbye, but not really, you live in me forever brother.
Glenn & Linda Taylor
January 23, 2020
T. was a great friend and karate partner. He was one of the good ones. When he and I tested together for different Dan ranks it was always T. who passed the test. But T. was always humble and never assuming. When he and Ayako moved to Japan we maintained our friendship via email. Many discussions ensued about politics, life in general, how he was adjusting to life in Japan and about the biography he was writing about Sensei Mikami. T. always amazed me with his stories about his childhood adventures and his early days working. His passing has left a great void in my life.
To the family and to Ayako Linda and I wish you to have the peace of mind that T. lived a full and productive life. We miss him and share in your sadness.
Glenn & Linda Taylor