Longtime Falls Church City resident Mary-Paget S. Langalis, died at home July 10th, ending a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 81.
Born July 9, 1930 in Hagerstown, MD, she was the eldest of three children of the late Dr. Walter Hal and Anne Marie Baker Shealy. She attended Washington County public schools, and graduated from Wilson College in 1951 with a B.A in Music (Piano).
She joined the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington DC, in 1951. Under CIA auspices, she learned Hindi at the Georgetown University Institute of Languages & Linguistics; she later learned Russian. In the mid-1950’s she changed career tracks, moving from Translator/Analyst to Reports Officer in the Clandestine Services Directorate. She left the CIA in 1958 to accompany her husband on 10 years of overseas assignments in Latin America (Panama, Bolivia and Venezuela), where she added Spanish to her foreign-language skills. Between overseas postings (1963-66) she settled in Falls Church, and returned to stay in 1971. In 1972 she resumed working at the Falls Church Public Library, specializing in cataloging for the Children’s and Juvenile collections. She retired in 2000.
While in Panama, Mrs. Langalis regularly did “Gray Lady” volunteer nurse’s aide work at Santo Tomas Hospital. In Bolivia she co-edited the American Embassy-sponsored “La Paz Letter”, a monthly journal circulated to the resident U.S. official and foreign diplomatic communities. In the mid-1970s she was a stringer for the Falls Church area edition of the then Globe Newspapers chain of suburban weeklies. She was also a 59-year member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Pack Horse Ford Chapter in Shepherdstown, WV.
Her keenness for foreign travel traced to the summer of 1950, when she and three college classmates toured England and the Continent on bicycles, making the Atlantic crossings on converted WWII military hospital ships. Between 1974 and 2009 her foreign touring included Russia and the Caucuses; East, North and South Africa; South Asia: the Middle East; and all of Western Europe.
Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Charles R. Langalis of Falls Church; a son, Charles A. Langalis (Tamsen) and two grandsons (Christian and Andrew), of Rowayton, CT; a daughter, Anne Elizabeth Langalis of Reston, VA; and her brother, Joseph Hal Shealy of Cambridge, MA.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday July 30th at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2609 North Glebe Road, Arlington (for directions and parking see www.stmarysarlington.org).
Memorial donations may be made in her name to College Advancement, Wilson College, 1015 Philadelphia Avenue, Chambersburg PA 17201; or The Humane Society of the United States, Dept. 01EE110501001, 2100 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.