William C. Wagner, 80, who retired from the U.S. Agriculture Department in 2002 as a section leader in what is now the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, died Dec. 10 at his home in Reston. He had duodenal cancer.

His wife, Victoria Wagner, confirmed the death.

Dr. Wagner received a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1956 and a doctorate in physiology in 1968, both from Cornell University.

He was a professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State University and associate dean of research and graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before moving to the Washington area in 1991 for the USDA.

He spent the next 11 years at what was the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, serving as leader of the section on animal systems and national program leader for veterinary medicine.

After his USDA retirement, he was a visiting professor at Ohio State University. From 2007 to 2011, he was dean of the veterinary medicine school at St. Matthew’s University in the Cayman Islands, in the Caribbean.

William Charles Wagner was a native of Elma, N.Y., and received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell in 1954.

He was a charter diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, a branch of veterinary medicine focused on reproduction. He was a past president of the American Physiological Society and a life member of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases. He lectured internationally and wrote scientific papers on animal production.

His first marriage, to Donna McNeil, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 19 years, Victoria Sandberg Wagner of Reston; four children from his first marriage, William Wagner Jr. of Rantoul, Ill., Elizabeth Wagner of Chicago, Victoria Corkery of Urbana, Ill., and Kathryn Wagner of Kalamazoo, Mich.; a stepson, Justin Eggleton of Ashburn; and five grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein