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Woodfin and Sewell remember Larry Langford

Tuesday, former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford died in a Birmingham area hospital. He was 72. Both Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) released statements of condolences on the passing of Langford.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Mayor Larry Langford. Our hearts go out to the Langford family during this time of loss,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement. “Mayor Langford had an unmatched love for his community – a love he expressed through his boldness and creativity. During all of our interactions, one thing was always clear – Mayor Langford was an unabashed advocate for the city he served. His fire for change and passion for people will be a lasting part of his legacy.”

“Above all else, Mayor Langford loved this city,” Woodfin said. “Please keep Mayor Langford’s loving wife Melva, family members and friends in your prayers during this difficult time. May he be remembered for his boundless ingenuity and as a fervent voice for the people.”

“My deepest condolences on the passing of former Mayor Larry Langford,” Rep. Sewell said. “He was a man of great vision and huge heart that has left our community better because of all of his many initiatives. He died as he lived— with dignity, distinction and as a free man with his family, friends and community who loved him deeply. May Mayor Langford Rest In Peace having served his people and time.”

Langford had been serving a prison sentence for bribery and corruption. Because his health had been in decline for years, his family and Rep. Sewell had been asking the federal government to release Langford. The Bureau of Prisons denied Langford’s appeal as recently as November 2; but his health then entered in a terminal phase. On December 28 Judge Scott Coogler, at the urging of federal prison officials, signed an order reducing Langford’s sentence to time served. On December 29 Langford was transferred from a federal hospital in Lexington, Kentucky to a Birmingham area hospital. He never left the hospital.

Larry Paul Langford was the mayor of Birmingham from 2007 to his conviction in 2009. Prior to that Langford was Chairman of the Jefferson County Commission. He was also a former Mayor of Fairfield, a former Birmingham City Councilman, a WBRC Channel 6 TV reporter, and a U.S. Air Force veteran during the Vietnam era.

Mayor Langford grew up in the Loveman Village public housing in Titusville. He graduated from Parker High School in 1965. Langford served five years in the U.S. Air Force, graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1972.

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Langford is survived by his wife, Melva; son, Ronald Strothers; niece, Lena Powe McDonald; brother, Oliver Nance; sister-in-law, Casi Ferguson; grandchildren, Ronald Strothers III and Jared Daniel Strothers; and a host of other nieces, nephews, friends and supporters.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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