Obituaries, op-eds and statements: Reactions to the passing of Larry Langford

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Larry Langford, the former Birmingham mayor passed away in Birmingham’s Brookwood Princeton Hospital yesterday, January 8, 2019 after years battling chronic illness. The following are statements made in reaction to the news.

The City of Birmingham posted a press release announcing his death and highlighting his career.

According to an obituary provided by his family, Langford is survived by his wife, Melva Langford; son, Ronald Strothers; niece, Lena Powe McDonald; brother, Oliver Nance; sister-in-law, Casi Ferguson; grandchildren, Ronald Strothers III and Jared Daniel Strothers; and a host of other nieces, nephews, friends and supporters.

Randall Woodfin, Birmingham Mayor (Via FaceBook)

“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Mayor Larry Langford. Our hearts go out to the Langford family during this time of loss.

Mayor Langford had an unmatched love for his community – a love he expressed through his boldness and creativity. During all of our interactions, one thing was always clear – Mayor Langford was an unabashed advocate for the city he served. His fire for change and passion for people will be a lasting part of his legacy.

Above all else, Mayor Langford loved this city.

Please keep Mayor Langford’s loving wife Melva, family members and friends in your prayers during this difficult time. May he be remembered for his boundless ingenuity and as a fervent voice for the people.”

Congresswoman Terri Sewell (2 separate FaceBook posts)

“I am deeply saddened tonight with the news that we have lost Mayor Larry Langford. My prayers are with his wife, Melva, and their family as they honor his life and legacy in the days and weeks ahead.”

“Here in Birmingham, Mayor Langford will be remembered for his dedication to serving the community he grew up in and for his fight to bring greater opportunities to people in Jefferson County. He was a man of faith, and he put his faith into action by campaigning to reduce violence and promote investments in education for our city’s young people. Mayor Langford will be deeply missed, and I was happy to see him return home to Magic City to be with family before he passed. My prayers are with his family.”

Birmingham City Council (Via their FaceBook page)

“The Birmingham City Council wishes to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family and friends in the loss of our former Mayor Larry Langford. We are deeply grateful for his countless contributions to the City, County and the State of Alabama as a whole. Our prayers are that God will comfort all of those that knew and loved him as a dynamic leader and force of change in our communities.”

From his Obituary in the New York Times

“With a showman’s touch and a penchant for defiance, Mr. Langford was a proudly unorthodox political figure in a state full of them. In and around Birmingham, where he was a public figure for more than four decades, he was regarded with an intriguing mix of admiration — for his creativity, zeal and unstinting confidence — and derision, which flowed from his reputation as a politician who dealt in himself and in spectacularly unrealistic ideas.”

From a column by Al.Com’s Kyle Whitmire:

“Larry Langford was someone you could never really know. He was funny, personable and the sort of politician that, if you let your guard down, would murder the truth right in front of you. I wrote about him for years, and I still wonder how much of what I reported was accurate”

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