James E. "Jim" Langton, of State College, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, December 31, 2017, with his wife beside him. Born in Forestville, PA he was the son of James E. and Helen Langton. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Loretta, and six children: James and his wife Diane; Robert and his wife Mary; Mary; David and his wife Colleen; William and his wife Karen; and Judith and her husband Michael. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren, Matthew, Sean, David, Nicholas and his wife Kayla, Jake, Michael, Mark, Amelia, Olivia, Madeleine, Morgan, Adam, Marisa, and Grace. He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Ellen and her husband George Christ.
Jim was a devout Catholic whose love of family was boundless. His tireless accomplishment of attending every child's event, providing endless support and advice, and encouraging them in every way possible is a tough act to follow. He took great joy in continuing that tradition with the grandchildren. The thousands of miles driven and countless hours spent were nothing to him but a sign of his love and pride in his family.
Jim graduated Cass Township High School, served in the US Army in Germany during WWII, and went on to graduate from Indiana (PA) State Teachers College (now Indiana University of Pennsylvania) with a degree in Music Education in 1951. His passionate career in music education began in Johnsonburg, PA where he taught music theory and was the choral director. He then taught in Emporium, PA before advancing his education by receiving his Masters Degree in Music Education at Penn State University in 1957. In 1966, he accepted the choral director position at the State College Area High School and began his 21 year tenure directing the A Cappella, Twentones, Choralier, and Sophomore choirs; teaching music theory; starting and co-directing broadway musical productions; and coordinating the summer band program working with all the instrumental students. In 1975 Jim became the State College Area School District (SCASD) Music Coordinator promoting music literacy and participation. He was a driving force in continuing and enhancing the music and arts agenda and curriculum in the SCASD.
Jim had high expectations of students and his choirs and the results were many memorable performances every winter and spring. These performances included several major works, classical selections, and pop standards. He credited the quality of these performances to the hard work of his students. He challenged and encouraged students to reach their potential. Many of his students competed in district, regional and state chorus, helping the SCASD be recognized as one of the top choral programs in Pennsylvania. Jim inspired many students to pursue music careers and sparked a lifelong interest in and love of music in many other students. Until he passed away, he was still being contacted by students from as far back as 50 years ago. In the program for his final concert in the spring of 1987 he wrote, "I shall always be grateful to all of you for the opportunity that you've given me to work with some fabulous young people in perhaps the most precious of all Art areas - Vocal Music."
An accomplished musician and quite an entertainer, Jim enjoyed a 25-year gig playing piano 3 nights a week at the Autoport Lounge. He was quick with a smile and even quicker to play any song you could name. If he didn't know it, he learned it just for you. Rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, and PSU alumni events were just a few of the typical gatherings that he was honored to take part in. His extended family was this community that so often invited him to witness some of the biggest days of their lives.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the James E. Langton Award which is presented to a deserving student with an excellent GPA that will be studying music in college. Checks can be made payable to "State College Music Boosters." (Please indicate on the check: "for James E. Langton Award"). Please mail your check to: State College Music Boosters, PO Box 605, State College, PA 16804.
Family and friends will be received on Friday, January 5, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Koch Funeral Home in 2401 S. Atherton St., State College. Funeral mass will be held on Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 11:00 am at Our Lady of Victory Church, 820 Westerly Pkwy, State College.
Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at www.kochfuneralhome.com