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Langdon, McGehee, Rodman

The Rev. David Stetson Langdon, who devoted the last few decades of his life to ministry at Mississippi State Penitentiary, died April 3 at 85.

He was born in Norwood, New York, was a graduate of Hobart College and General Theological Seminary, and completed a D.Min. at Drew University. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1965.

Early in his vocation, Langdon worked in chapels throughout the Adirondacks in the summer, as a chaplain in regional prisons, hospitals, elder care facilities, and summer camps, and as an instructor of Greek at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. After his first marriage ended, he moved around the South working for Habitat for Humanity.

In 1992, he married his high school sweetheart, Louise Beaulieu, and they moved to Sumner, Mississippi, where he was appointed vicar at St. Vincent’s-Within-the-Walls, the Episcopal mission at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He supported inmates of diverse religions and attended to the needs of those on death row.

He credited Alcoholics Anonymous for his nearly 40 years of sobriety. He played numerous instruments and knew many songs, hymns, and choral works that he would break into at any moment. He was a lifelong learner who enjoyed translating Scripture from Hebrew and Greek. He earned certifications in theology, ministry — and marine-engine repair.

Langdon is survived by his wife; three sons; a daughter; and nine grandchildren.

Mrs. June Chrystine Stewart McGehee, who once petitioned for open housing in deeply segregated Virginia, died March 26 at 98. She was married to Bishop Coleman McGehee Jr., eighth Bishop of Michigan, for 67 years. He died in 2013 at 89.

She was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and was the last surviving member of a family of nine children. Only 11 when her mother died, she endured a difficult childhood, but emerged from it with a passion for reading and a keen eye for observing human foibles, both verbally and through sketching on paper.

She met her future husband in her first year of art school. She devoted her energies to enhancing the education of her five children, especially in critical thinking. Friends and family alike knew she could be a fierce ally, a family obituary said.

When she petitioned for open housing laws in the 1960s, many neighbors responded with slammed doors. Her children, perched around the dinner table, begged to find out which neighbors slammed those doors. She never told.

She is survived by four children and four grandchildren. Mrs. McGehee’s body will be cremated, and her ashes will join those of her late husband in the columbarium of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit.

The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman, a longtime activist and professor at Episcopal Divinity School, died April 2 at 81.

He was born in Indianapolis and was a graduate of Hampton University and Episcopal Divinity School. While still in high school in Portsmouth, Va., he worked as a field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality. At Hampton Institute he became a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

He was ordained deacon in 1967 and priest in 1968, and after initial service at St. Paul’s Church in New Haven, Connecticut, returned to the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1971, becoming canon missioner.

He served over several decades for five Massachusetts bishops. After leaving the diocesan staff, he was the John Seeley Stone Professor of Pastoral Theology and Urban Ministry at Episcopal Divinity School until retiring in 2009, teaching homiletics and urban ministry and mentoring the first group of remote learners.

He offered a consistent blessing at church gatherings: “Let there be peace among us and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression.”

“Canon Ed Rodman leaves an extraordinary legacy in this diocese and in the wider church,” Massachusetts Bishop Alan M. Gates said in a diocesan tribute. “Fierce in his commitment to racial and economic justice, he was also fiercely loyal to his friends and companions. Lay and clergy leaders alike have been mentored, supported, challenged, chastened, and finally made stronger by this remarkable man.”

The canon is survived by his wife of 60 years, Gladys Rodman, and their two daughters.

Other Deaths

The Rev. Robert Lee Bast, February 7

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