Victor N. Agather was born in Kalispell, Montana in 1912. He graduated from the School of Foreign Service in 1934 and then went on to get a degree from Harvard Business School. Prior to WWII, Agather was involved in Boeing’s development of the Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” bomber. At the advent of the war, he enlisted in the Air Force. An accomplished airman, Agather would eventually achieve the rank of Colonel due to his wartime successes fighting in the Pacific Theater. During his time in the Air Force, Agather became an expert on B-29 bombers, the aircraft of choice during the war. He was also a member of the 509 Composite Group, air crews trained to launch atomic bomb attacks on Japan.
After the war, Agather returned not to the United States but to Mexico, where he would live for the next 48 years with his family. There Agather founded a steel company in Mexico City. He was quite successful with the business and amassed a small fortune. According to Mexico Behind the Mask: A Narrative, Past and Present by Beldon Butterfield, “Agather was one of the many American entrepreneurs who helped modernize Mexico’s industrial base after World War II.”
In 1964, Agather and other prominent philanthropists donated the funds necessary to keep Hospital ABC, a major Mexican medical center near Mexico City, open to the public. He did this again in 1983 when the hospital faced bankruptcy. Agather led the “Today and Tomorrow” campaign to raise funds to modernize and expand the hospital. The campaign raised 20 million dollars and established Hospital ABC, now ABC Medical Center (Centro Médico ABC) as one of the leading medical institutions in Mexico.
Even years after leaving the Air Force, Agather’s love of aircraft and flight did not wane. He made it his personal mission to restore a B-29 bomber to flyable condition. Scouring aircraft graveyards for scrap, Agather would eventually completely restore a B-29—naming it Fifi in honor of his wife, Josephine. At the time, it was the only flight-worthy B-29, as all the others were preserved in aircraft museums. Fifi inspired aircraft enthusiasts and amateurs alike for years, with Agather as the head pilot and steward of the wing.
According to ARC Magazine, “In the four decades since, Fifi has appeared at countless air shows and traveling exhibits. She’s the anchor attraction in CAF’s AirPower History Tour, which stops in 40 to 50 U.S. cities every spring, summer and fall and provides rides and cockpit tours for military and aviation history enthusiasts of every generation.” In 2014, Agather’s son Neils Agather, gave an interview discussing his father’s work and how Fifi got its name.
Victor Agather retired to San Antonio with his wife, and passed away in 2000 at age 87. His legacy would be carried on in the Fifi project, which his son, Neils, took over after his death. Today Fifi has been grounded and is preserved in the Vintage Flying Museum at Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth, Texas.