BOILING SPRINGS- Marion Lansford Jolley, 86, native of and beloved community leader in Boiling Springs, died Monday, Sept. 16, at Wendover Hospice in Shelby. Born May 16, 1927, Mr. Jolley was the son of Marion Augustus "Guss" and Dovie Hopper Jolley, who preceded him in death.
Lansford Jolley retired in 1992 from Gardner-Webb after 35 years of teaching and 34 years as chairman of the Department of Social Sciences. At Gardner-Webb, he established the criminal justice program, chaired numerous committees, and served as faculty marshal. He enjoyed the distinction of being the only Gardner-Webb professor born, reared and retired in Boiling Springs.
In 1997 Gardner-Webb honored Mr. Jolley with an honorary doctorate of humanities degree in recognition of his lifetime of service to the university and to the community.
Mr. Jolley was the principal writer of the book Dreaming, Daring, Doing...The Story of Gardner-Webb University, published in 1997, which recorded the university's history from the time it received a high school charter in 1905. His love of both history and writing led him to produce other books. His history of the Kings Mountain Baptist Association, Visions of Faith, received the prestigious Ethel W. Twiford Religious History Book Award from the NC Society of Historians in 2002.
His fame as a local story teller was well-known and continued until his death. He recorded his favorite stories in 2005 in a book titled Come on in and Sit a Spell. One of his lifelong goals was to write a novel, and in 2012, his novel, The Coed's Mite, was published.
Mr. Jolley graduated from Gardner-Webb Junior College in 1947, and from Wake Forest College in 1949. He received his master's and educational specialist degrees from Peabody College (now affiliated with Vanderbilt University
) in 1960.
Prior to joining the Gardner-Webb faculty, he taught eight years at Ellenboro School in Ellenboro.
A faithful member of Boiling Springs Baptist Church, he served as a Sunday school teacher for 58 years and served nearly 50 years as a Deacon. He was a member of the adult and senior choirs and chaired and served on numerous church committees.
For 63 years, he was a member of the Boiling Springs Lions Club. A past president of the club, he was awarded the Lion of the Year Award in 1976. He represented the club at Lions Club International gatherings around the U.S.
Mr. Jolley contributed to the community in numerous other ways, serving as board member and fundraiser for Crawley Memorial Hospital. He chaired the Board of Elections in the town of Boiling Springs, chaired the planning committee for the 75th anniversary of the town in 1976, and participated for many years in the town's Christmas parade.
He served Cleveland County as a member of the board of directors of the Department of Social Services, and also the United Way. He had been a member of the Cleveland County Historical Association. He also served his country in the U. S. Navy.
Mr. Jolley is survived by his wife of 63 years, Cothenia Jones Jolley; daughter, Lana Jolley Henkel and husband Russell W. Henkel; and grandsons, Jeremy and Jonathan Henkel, all of Boiling Springs.
Heartfelt thanks to Wendover Hospice for the loving care they extended to Mr. Jolley.
Visitation: The family will receive friends from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Boiling Springs Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.
Celebration of Life Service: 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Boiling Springs Baptist Church
Officiating: Dr. Carroll Page, the Rev. Todd Bolin, Dr. Tracy Jessup
Burial: 10 a.m. Friday at Cleveland Memorial Park, Shelby
Funeral Home: Cecil M. Burton Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.
Memorials: May be made to the "M. Lansford Jolley Academic Fellow Scholarship Fund, " c/o Gardner-Webb University, PO box 997, Boiling Springs, NC 28017.
Online Guest Registry: www.cecilmburtonfuneralhome.com