Dr. Noah N. Langdale Jr.

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1920-2008 - Captain of the 1936 State Champion Valdosta High Wildcats, Noah Langdale was sought by colleges throughout the country for his academic as well as his athletic talents. The late Bill Hartman, a legend as player and coach for the University of Georgia, went to Valdosta High School to recruit Noah. "He was reciting Shakespeare as I went up to him." he once said. Noah went on to become a stellar student and outstanding college football player for the University of Alabama, and president of Georgia State University for 31 years.
Noah Langdale came to Georgia State University as president in 1957 and promptly took it from a two building college (the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia) to one of the top educational institutions in America. Under Langdale's leadership, Georgia State College became Georgia State University with a thriving campus and 30,000 plus students. He was president of Georgia State University from 1957-1988.
Devoted son of the late Mr. and Mrs. N. N. Langdale Sr., Noah Noel Langdale Jr., 87, died of heart failure at Piedmont Hospital Saturday morning. His wife, Wiggie, preceded him in death in 2005. He is survived by his son, Michael.
In 2005 he received the Paul W. Bryant Alumni-Athlete Award. The award recognizes former athletes whose accomplishments since leaving the University are outstanding based on character, contributions to society, professional achievement and service. Langdale played varsity tackle for the Crimson Tide, but he was recognized more for his off the field contributions, especially in education. During his years at the University of Alabama, Langdale was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Chi and the Jasons Society. He was awarded the Service Trophy by his fellow students for the class year 1940-41.
At 6' 1", 235 pounds, Langdale was a starting tackle on Alabama's Crimson Tide football team that defeated Texas A & M in 1941 in the Cotton Bowl. He was line coach of the 1942 Alabama team that defeated Boston College in the Orange Bowl. After the 1942 season, Langdale joined the Navy and played football for the University of North Carolina Preflight and later for the University of Georgia Preflight, where he was an instructor in military science. Following the 1944 season he went to war in the Pacific.
After graduation, Langdale spent four years in the U.S. Navy. He received degrees from the Harvard University School of Law and Harvard Business School, and he practiced law in Georgia for seven years. He was a department chairman at Valdosta State College and an instructor for the American Institute. He received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Alabama in 1957.
His oratory skills were legendary for not only his knowledge and wit, but the great humor he possessed his entire life. His knowledge was vast and all encompassing amazing even the most knowledgeable of all fields. His late father in law, Dr. Harvey Cabaniss Sr., once, after years of observing Noah's breadth of knowledge, studied extensively on a rare whale with the intent of for once trying to stump Dr. Langdale. After casually mentioning this rare whale, Noah immediately expressed great knowledge about the whale and then went on into great detail. Dr. Cabaniss just shook his head and gave up.
While stationed at the Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia, he met Alice "Wiggie" Cabaniss. They were married in Athens and lived as one of the perfectly matched few for 63 years until her death in 2005.
There were few like Wiggie whose spirit, graciousness and generosity of self was infectious to friends and strangers alike. Wiggie Langdale did much more than serve as hostess to thousands of people in her well known home facing both Tuxedo and Blackland Roads-from students to world leaders and movie stars.
She is specifically remembered for her personal warmth and graciousness. Friends and family also remember her as intellectually and culturally gifted, sharing her love of poetry with her husband and enjoying her collections of antiques. Noah grieved for his Wiggie, his love, every day of his life until he went to join her.
Dr. Langdale was stationed in Athens and attended the Navy Supply school, play for the Univ. of Georgia preflight football team. His sister in law is Mrs. Helen McPherson, Mrs. Bess Hopkins, brother in law, Harvey Cabannis Jr., nieces Mrs. Helen Costantino, Mrs. Margaret McPherson Smith, Miss Janet McPherson. His son, Michael, graduated from the University of Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Georgia State University Foundation or to your favorite charity. A memorial service will be held Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road N. W., Atlanta.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Feb. 26, 2008
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