ENMU, Portales mourn passing of Langston

By Tony Parra

Eastern New Mexico University, Portales and the entire country lost a hero and friend when Dewey Langston passed away Tuesday.

“He had many friends who are going to miss him,” Carl Richardson of Portales, a friend since 1939, said. “The whole town will miss him dearly.”

Langston, 85, served the community of Portales for more than 65 years, his university, ENMU, for 35 years and his country for 40 years as a member of the U.S. Military.

Langston was recognized for his work and dedication in different aspects of the community. Langston lived in Portales since he enrolled at Eastern New Mexico Junior College (ENMU) in 1939.

Richardson said he was living on campus when he met Langston. Richardson graduated from Portales High School in 1940. Richardson received his doctorate from the University of Tulsa and returned to coach at Eastern in 1949. Langston started coaching in 1951 alongside Richardson. Richardson took over as head coach in 1954 and coached the Greyhounds for 10 years.

Richardson said he attended the same church as Langston and even lived across the street from him from 1954 to 1980.

“I felt like I lost a brother more than I did a neighbor or colleague,” Richardson said. “He was a great family man and he has been very involved with the community ever since I knew him.”

He was a member of the Portales Rotary Club, Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce committees and the local American Red Cross board. Langston was the winner of the 2004 Pioneer of the Year Award at Heritage Days. During the awards ceremony, Langston said he’s met half of the people in this town through ENMU, sports, Rotary and the military.

“He’s the greatest man in the world,” Judy Langston, Dewey’s daughter, said during the award ceremony in 2004. “I adore him so much. He’s been so involved in the community. He did so much.”

Langston was honored by Cannon Air Force Base officials when they inducted him into the Airman Leadership School’s Wall of Heroes in August of 2004.

“The 27th Fighter Wing would like to express its condolences to the family of Mr. Dewey Langston,” Col. Scott West, 27th Fighter Wing commander, said. “Mr. Langston was honored as the second inductee to the Airman Leadership School’s Wall of Heroes in August 2004. The Wall of Heroes was established in June 2004 and pays tribute to distinguished American veterans who served honorably and demonstrated a level of commitment, courage and dedication seldom matched by their peers. Mr. Langston will be missed.”

Langston served his country in the armed forces from 1942 to 1982. He was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps and was in the 2nd A.A.A. Battalion. Langston and his five brothers all served in the armed forces.

Langston was honored by ENMU officials with the distinguished Faculty Emeritus Award in October of 1995. Langston served ENMU for 35 years in various roles including professor of health and physical education, athletic director and chairman of the School of Health and Physical Education.

“I knew Dewey Langston as a friendly man and a caring person,” Weldon Reed of Floyd said. Reed has known Langston since Reed took some of his courses at ENMU in 1972 and Reed also belonged to the same antique car club as Langston.

Reed said he has known him for more than 25 years.
“He was an extra-ordinary fellow,” Reed said.
“He was a great supporter of the university and of the community,” Marshall Stinnett, ENMU Board of Regents member, said. “He was a great collector of stamps. He was an intelligent man and was really well informed.”

People remembered Langston for his graciousness. One example of this was in his letter of resignation dated Sept. 19, 1956 as assistant football coach.

“I shall always consider my experience and working relationships with these outstanding coaches one of the memorable pleasures of my live and shall forever be grateful for having had the opportunity of having been called a ‘fellow coach’ by these fine gentleman,” Langston said in his letter.

Langston graduated from Wink High School in Texas in 1939 and graduated from ENMU in 1943. He received his doctorate from Indiana University.