As you may have heard by now, my grandfather Luther Angell recently passed a way on May 23.
I shared some very brief reflections about him on instagram here, here, here, and here.
My uncle asked me to write the obituary & I was delighted to attempt such a important end-of-life summary for Papa.
It wrote about attempting to create the obituary on IG here on May 24.
I did have a special relationship with Papa Luther during the interviewing season for the books. I began interviewing him as a Sophomore in college through an undergraduate research project and wrapped up the interviews just before I moved to South Dakota. The finished books hold special stories & memories and now, more than ever, I am glad we collaborated and created them.
I traveled to Centralia to visit Papa when he was placed on hospice. He passed away the morning after I returned home to South Dakota. Our county & my hometown’s county are very low in Covid-19 cases, so we decided to pause our stay home efforts & return to Centralia for the funeral and participate in the services.
If you’d like to read the obituary, I’ll post it below. Also, here’s the link to the funeral home posting & to the video from the family funeral.
Luther L. Angell
Luther Louis Angell April 27, 1934 – May 23, 2020
Luther Louis Angell, 86, of Centralia, Missouri died peacefully in his home “on top of the hill” on May 23, 2020. The previous morning he requested breakfast: bologna with brown mustard, washed down with some ice-cold Coke-a-Cola. For many years, Luther often said, “I hope I die with my boots on. It’d be best if you found me facedown in the cow lot.”
Although that didn’t happen, Luther was calling up to the store to check on things and selling his cattle up until his last week of life. His childhood home sat where the McDonald’s is presently located. His first car was a 1932 Chevrolet that cost $60, but only $20 when it was split three ways between friends.
Luther was born April 27, 1934 in Centralia. He lived his entire life in the community he loved, with brief exceptions during his time in the Air Force and as a student at the University of Missouri. He “ran off” and joined up to avoid a remedial summer class after flunking English at MU. As a young, homesick military man, Luther yearned to come back to Centralia. In February of 1957, he cruised down main street with his discharge papers in his hand saying to himself: “I’m home! I’m home! I’m never gonna leave again!”
Luther leaves behind the most patient, enduring wife of over 60 years, Mary Joan “Mamoo” (Gassett) Angell; a dear brother and longtime business partner, Charles “Buddy” (Sherry) Angell of Centralia, and sister, Rosemary (Angell) Boender of Oskaloosa, IA. Luther will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by three sons, Jed Angell (Jill), Justin Angell, Jon Angell (Charlotte), his sons also call Centralia home. Additionally, nine grandchildren will fondly recall their “Papa” stories forever: Jayci Gesling (Jimmy), Jardyn Angell (Krista), Jensyn Angell (Amanda), Sierra Blachford (John), Savannah Moore (Justin), Selestia Angell, Schyler Angell, Emily Angell and Rebekah Angell. Ten great-grandchildren will also miss Papa’s teasing: Micah Gesling, Ainsley Gesling, Gideon Gesling, Dekker Angell, Liyah Angell, Lyric Angell, Wells Luther Angell all of Centralia and Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse Blachford of Lake Preston, S.D.; along with his several nieces and nephews; other relatives and many dear friends.
With their families’ blessing, Joan and Luther eloped and were married on August 27, 1959, the wedding cost $20 and the certificate was $3.25. They were married in Cuba, Mo., in a church they found on their way down to Georgia to meet Joan’s family. On that trip, Luther enjoyed his first tomato sandwich and he never stopped craving them each summer. After their return, Luther was working as a partner at the Columbia Livestock Auction and buying cattle at the Kansas City Stockyards. Later, his primary career with his brother was feeding cattle in the west. He also finished his degree, but skipped graduation. Ten years or so later, he stopped by to see if they still had his diploma lying around and they did! He was proud to call Centralia home, where he owned multiple businesses and attended hundreds of ball games and track meets.
Luther had two life goals – we hope by now you’ve heard that story – and a set of outlandish wishes for his Celebration of Life that his family is trying their dandiest to fulfill in short order. In his early 80s Luther concluded, “It’s hell getting old!” and his wishes for a big party became more robust. A private family visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at the Oliver Funeral Home in Centralia, MO.
Per his wishes a LaCrosse Lumber truck with a band will proceed a head of his hearse and will leave from the Oliver Funeral Home at approximately 2 p.m. in a New Orleans Style funeral procession. Join the procession or just step out on the side walk to tip your hat and holler. The processional will head north by Angell’s Western Wear on Allen Street where Luther was delighted to tease customers and employees alike for many decades. The parade will conclude with a graveside service at the Centralia City Cemetery. Active Pallbearers are to be his nine grandchildren. Additionally, Honorary Pallbearers are: Jeff Asbury, Ken Burch, Dr. Larry Chapman, Jerry Cox, Bobby Oliver, Bob Ritchie, Doug Romine, Gary Stowers and Loren Sutton. Finally, Posthumous Pallbearers (dead guys he liked & missed): Billy Boyce, Tommy Cox, T. W. Diggs, Fonsey Fennewald, Roy “Shorty” Hulen, Raymond Kitchen, Gene Perry, Bill Surface and Billy Wade.
Memorial contributions may be made to Centralia City Cemetery Fund or Shriners Hospitals for Children and sent to Oliver Funeral Home, P.O. Box 125, Centralia, MO 65240.Following the graveside service, the band and truck will lead the way to the Centralia Hog Barn where a party will begin at 4 p.m. and be held into the wee hours of the morning. Entry fee into the party will be one Luther story, at 5 p.m. a story time will be held. The Hog Barn, formerly the Centralia Livestock Auction & then Central Hog Buyers, was another one of Centralia’s longtime business locations operated by L.W., Luther, Buddy and family.
If anyone in a cute dress gets their bottom pinched at the party, Luther said, “Blame it on me!”
If you weren’t able to attend, Luther’s favorite films might be a comfort to you: Secondhand Lions and Big Fish. In Secondhand Lions, Garth says of his friend what we now say of Luther, “A man’s body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and as restless as ever. And him – in his day, he had more spirit than twenty men.”