John M. Wigglesworth, CIA officer who later started travel agency

April 6, 2013

John M. Wigglesworth, 99, a retired CIA officer who co-founded a Bethesda-based travel agency, died March 11 at Arcadia Assisted Living on Kent Island, Md.

The cause was a stroke, said his daughter Ann Barbieri.

Mr. Wigglesworth retired in 1973 after 23 years with the CIA’s directorate of intelligence. He served in Paris and Taiwan, in addition to postings in Washington. In retirement, he co-founded the now-defunct travel agency, Research Travel, where he worked until the early 2000s.

John Matthew Wigglesworth was born on a Navajo reservation in Fort Defiance, Ariz., where his father was a doctor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The younger Wigglesworth grew up in Washington. He graduated in 1931 from what is now Becker College in Worcester, Mass., and in 1935 received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Catholic University.

His memberships included the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of D.C., a civic group. He was a volunteer with Meals on Wheels and So Others Might Eat.

In 2008, he moved to Kent Island from Chevy Chase.

His first wife, Virginia Ryan Wigglesworth, died in 1993 after 52 years of marriage.

Survivors include his wife of 15 years, JoAnn Bennett Wigglesworth of Marshall, Mo.; nine children from his first marriage, Ann Barbieri of Reston, Elaine Dorsey of Chester, Md., Judy Sgroi of Roanoke, Albert Wigglesworth of Silver Spring, Michael Wigglesworth of Calverton, Patsy Fissell of Weston, Conn., Paul Wigglesworth of Belmont, Mass., Pierre Wigglesworth of Duarte, Calif., and John M. Wigglesworth Jr. of Sheridan, Wyo.; 19 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

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