Dr. John Wesley Langley --------
John Wesley Langley was born November 7, 1926 in Osborne, North Carolina to the late Weldon and Amanda Cumber Langley. He was the eighth of ten children. He died on August 10, 2017 after a brief illness.
In order to help support his family after the death of his father, John left school in the seventh grade. John later returned to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Pfeiffer College (now Pfeiffer University). He later went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina, and a doctoral degree from Duke University. John’s passion was educating children, which drove his professional pursuits and shaped the way he thought about the world. He was an avid reader, and was known to engage friends and family frequently in lively, thoughtful conversations about everything from current events to theoretical principles. He was also an author, having recently completed his autobiography.
At the age of 21, John met his future wife, Hilda Maske, at the Rockingham Skating Rink. They married in September 1951. At the time of her death in 2015, they were married 64 years. John and Hilda raised three daughters, and were blessed with eleven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Each of John’s grandchildren was his “favorite” and he delighted in regaling them frequently with life lessons and stories from his childhood. A guiding light for “Papa” was his deep gratitude for the blessings he had been given, and he sought to return those gifts through service to others. John was a pillar of strength for his family and all aspects of his life reflected his love and devotion to them.
John was an extraordinary educator. He believed deeply in every child’s ability to succeed. John’s distinguished thirty-seven year career was devoted to Richmond County, first as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Rockingham High School, and then principal of Rockingham Junior High School. As principal of Rockingham Junior High School, he provided his students with world class opportunities and experiences. It was John’s belief that every child should experience the arts in education and he made it his mission to bring those opportunities to his students. He created a much-celebrated Fine Arts Program, which included storytelling, performing arts, and a crafts fair. The culmination of this body of work was nationally recognized, from a Kennedy Foundation honor to a segment on CBS’ This Morning with Charles Kuralt. John often stated that he was blessed to have been able to stand on the shoulders of many giants during his life. These people challenged his ideas and helped mold the man he was.
John was a man of conviction and principle, and his faith was the foundation of his life. He was an active member of Pee Dee United Methodist Church, serving in various leadership roles and as the Sunday School teacher of the Clyde McCaskill Class for decades. He was a steward of the earth and shared the fruits of his bounty with friends, neighbors and even the local food bank. His dedication to his garden and the loving care with which he tended it reflected the way he treated those around him. John was a strong and loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. One of his favorite quotes was “I am what I am, and I’m proud of it. But I’ll be better tomorrow because I’ve learned from today.” His presence in our lives left an indelible mark, one that we will carry with us always.
Other than his parents, John is preceded in death by his wife, Hilda Maske Langley; siblings, Sylvester Langley, Annie Langley, Cora Langley, Beatrice Langley McCumbee, Bernice Langley Crumbley, George Langley, Homer Langley, Faye Langley Wyatt, and Woodrow Langley; his family friend and childhood sidekick, Harry Carter; and his pet and best friend, “Oscar”.
He is survived by his daughters, Lynn Langley Grogan (Lee), Wanda Langley-Hassler (Terry), and Beth Langley (Allen Meeks); the son from his heart, Temus Terry (Adrienne); grandchildren, Erin Grogan Murphy (Hunter), Hannah Grogan, Mary Stamper Grogan, Leah Hassler, Madison Hassler, Hayley Hassler, Cameron Hassler, Wesley Langley, Steven Meeks, Tristan Terry, and Aiden Terry; great- grandchild, Mae Murphy; a sister-in-law, Peggy Maske; many beloved nieces and nephews; and his pet and friend, “Little Bit”. The family thanks Norma McCaskill, who faithfully and lovingly cared for both John and Hilda.
The family will receive friends from 5 pm to 7:30 pm on August 12, 2017 at Watson-King Funeral Home in Rockingham, N.C.
A service of worship and celebration of John’s life will be held at 2 pm on August 13, 2017 at Pee Dee United Methodist Church with the Rev. Brian Perry and Dr. Robert Dean officiating. Burial service will be held immediately following at Richmond Park Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the John and Hilda Langley Scholarship Fund, Pfeiffer University, P.O. Box 960, Misenheimer, NC 28109-0960.
Online condolence may be made by visiting www.watson-kingfuneralhome.com
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