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James Cecil Langcuster Sr.

James Cecil Langcuster Sr., age 90, passed away peacefully early in the morning of Nov. 17.

Cecil, as he was commonly known, was born Aug. 2, 1930, in the coal-mining community of Sayre to Ruby and Daniel Langcuster.

After relocating with his mother and grandparents to Russellville, Langcuster demonstrated athletic talent. Under the encouragement and mentorship of his high school football coach, C.C. Kindig, Langcuster secured a four-year athletic scholarship to Troy State Teachers College, now Troy University.

Langcuster always fondly recalled Troy as the place where life began for him. For the rest of his life, he followed and attended Troy football games and contributed generously to Troy academic and athletic programs.

Upon graduation from Troy in 1951, Langcuster attended George Peabody Institute for Teachers/Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1952 with a Master of Arts in school administration.

He subsequently served in the Air Force as a psychological testing technician at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Upon his return home, Langcuster taught and coached at Colbert Heights, Deshler and Sheffield High School. Throughout his life, he was a regular fixture at high school reunions, recalled by numerous students as an exceptional mentor, educator and coach.

He was especially proud of having taught and coached the two famed “Swampers,” Jimmy Johnson and David Hood, immortalized by the iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “Sweet Home Alabama.”  Langcuster, Johnson and Hood were reunited more than a decade ago during an appearance at his local Civitan Club.

In 1953 he wed the love of his life, the former Suzanne Wages, to whom he was married for 63 years. In addition to Suzanne, he is survived by sons Jim Langcuster (Beth) of Auburn and John Langcuster (Christy) of Jackson, Mississippi, and by grandchildren Sarah Langcuster (Mark Kleist) of Stuttgart, Germany, Maggie Langcuster (Alex) of Auburn, Jackson Langcuster (Madeline) of Huntsville and Grace and Caroline Langcuster of Jackson, Mississippi, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Langcuster eventually left teaching and worked as an agent and held various leadership roles for several insurance companies, earning numerous leadership and production awards.

He also continued his military service, first in the Alabama Army National Guard as captain in the Army National Guard. Langcuster eventually transferred to the U.S. Army Reserve, eventually ascending to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He was a graduate of the U.S. Army School of Engineering, the Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also served for many years as a liaison officer for the United States Military Academy (West Point) and recruited a number of young people to the academy.

He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal upon completion of his military career.

Langcuster was also an active civic and community leader and volunteer, serving on the Russellville Library Board and as vice president of the Russellville City Schools Board of Education. He also served two terms as a Russellville city councilman and as mayor pro tempore.

After his retirement, he served as host of the local cable TV program “What’s Happening in the Tennessee Valley,” interviewing many local townspeople.

He was also honored as Farm-City Banquet Distinguished Citizen of the Year and as Civitan of the Year in 2007.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Troy University Athletic programs. Contributions can be forwarded to Troy University Athletics, 5000 Veterans Stadium Drive, Troy, AL 36082.

The family is planning a private graveside service Nov. 30 at the Knights of the Pythias Cemetery in Russellville. The service will be on Facebook Live for those who cannot attend.

Pallbearers will include Brian Pace, Brent Pace, David Hester, Jackson Langcuster, Larry Christopher and Grant Atkins.

The family offers effusive thanks to the incomparable care provided to Cecil by the management and staff of Country Cottage and later by Terrace Manor Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Russellville.

Spry Memorial Chapel assisted the family.

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