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  • Joe Langdell Gone at 100
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Oldest Living USS Arizona Survivor Joseph Langdell Dies at 100

Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015
By: Ted Langdell

With the expected sadness that comes with the passing of a parent, I regret to inform you that Joseph Kopcho Langdell, passed on to the next life (this morning,) Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 4:41am Pacific Standard Time.

He was 100 years, three months and 24 days old. A long-time listener to classical music, Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "The Eroica" played him off this life's stage.

Langdell was—insofar as the USS Arizona Reunion Association knows—the last surviving officer from the USS Arizona. His ashes will be entombed inside the ship, joining urns with those of more than 30 other USS Arizona Survivors who have chosen to rejoin the more than 900 sailors and officers who remain aboard, casualties of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941.

Since the USS Arizona Reunion Association decided NOT to disband, AND to return to Pearl Harbor in 2016, we think Dad's return may be Dec. 7, 2016 aboard the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor.

A Masonic Funeral is planned the Marysville-Yuba City area, within the next 30-days or so. The date to be determined. We'll advise.

Langdell had been actively propelling himself around The Fountains skilled nursing facility in Yuba City, California, up until a respiratory condition occurred a week ago and did not respond to treatment.

The Fountains had been his home for a few weeks short of two years, following a fall that resulted in a broken hip and a five-month wait before surgery could be attempted. It was succesfully completed in June, 2013 with more ease than doctors expected. The surgeon remarked, "He has the bones of an 80-year old!"

In his passing, he rejoins Libby—Elizabeth Hamilton McGauhy Langdell, his wife of 70 years—who often observed that "Joe gets into the manure pile and comes out smelling like a rose."

Libby passed on October 27, 2012, following a spell of declining health. Their youngest son, Ted held their hands as they passed.

Born October 12, 1914 at home to Luther Mark and Annie Kopcho Langdell, Joe Langdell was the first of their three children, born and raised in the small village of Wilton Center, New Hampshire. He was preceded in passing by his parents, his younger brother Charles Ulysses Langdell and youngest brother Theodore Roosevelt Langdell.

He and Libby were the parents of John Mark Langdell of Spearfish, South Dakota and Theodore Charles Langdell of Marysville, CA.

They were father-in-law and mother-in-law to sons' wives Jeanne and Anita, grandparents of John's son Andrew Langdell (wife Suzy) of Portland, Oregon and John's daughter Anne Langdell of Spearfish, uncle and aunt to Charles Langdell's son William Mark Langdell and T. R. Langdell's daughter, Janet, Libby's niece Marion McGauhy Civale of Roxbury, Connecticut. They both enjoyed the company of numerous "Kopcho Cousins" on Joe's mothers's side from the Latrobe-Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania region.

During his 100 years, Joe Langdell had seen many things and changes.

His skills ranged from the use of wood stoves and outhouses in cold, New Hampshire winters, milking cows in his father's barn, guiding horse-drawn buggies and driving early motor cars, building crystal radio sets and cranking party-line, operator-connected telephones, to using cell phones, e-mailing and surfing the internet. He could play 78s and LPs, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes, but resetting those players' clocks required assistance.

The outdoor activities he enjoyed as a young man—camping, fishing, exploring, Boy Scouts—were passed on to his two sons, and to others in the Boy Scout troops he led or served. He continued outdoor activities by taking his travel trailer into the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains until 2007 and walking in the neighborhood until 2011. He continued actively walking until his hip injury, and even as his legs lost strength over time, he would try to get out of bed on his own.

He played trombone in the Wilton High School Band, arranged dances in the region hiring big name bands that had open dates for low prices, like a range of music that included classical, polka, big band and even Mexican music on the radio (which he didn't understand) while relaxing in the woods or at home.

He was—over time—a graduate of Boston University, junior accountant, a Lt. Commander, US Naval Reserve with service aboard the USS Arizona, USS Frazier and ashore, later an auctioneer, manufacturer's representative for home furnishings companies, home furnishings store owner and active retiree.

4-H member as a youth, a Mason for seven decades, he was also a member of the Scottish Rite and several related organizations, an officer of local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association chapters, a founding member and later officer of the USS Arizona Reunion Association, and coordinated its annual reunions in Tucson, Arizona and established the practice of returning to Hawaii regularly for reunions. He last Reunion was the the 70th Anniversary Pearl Harbor proceedings in 2011, accompanied by older son John Mark.

For Joe Langdell—loquacious, lover of a good story and the life of many parties—the party that just ended here will be well remembered by many, while another is likely to just be starting.


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73rd Anniversary Reunion

As the generation of Pearl Harbor Survivors, WWII veterans, and home front civilians pass away, the stakeholders of WWII history pass on to the next generation the hope and promise to remember the events that changed their lives and the course of history.

A multitude of special events are planned. We invite you to join us in to commemorating this historic milestone and honoring the enduring legacy of Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.

This year, the USS Arizona Reunion Association will hold their FINAL REUNION at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel December 1st thru the 8th. Six of the nine known living survivors are scheduled to attend.


USS Arizona Survivor Celebrates 100th Birthday

On October 12th, 2014 USS Arizona Survivor Joseph Kopcho Langdell will celebrate is 100th birthday.

On December 7, 1941 Mr. Langdell, a U.S. Navy reserve officer who had been asleep in bachelor officers quarters on Ford Island, awoke to the noise of Japanese aircraft bombing Pearl Harbor and quickly rushed outside to help injured sailors come ashore from the nearby USS Arizona.

Langdell watched helplessly as the ship sank in nine minutes.

If aboard the battleship, the 27-year-old's battle station would have been in the ammunition room of the No. 2 turret, and he would likely have been killed.

On December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona lost 1,177 men assigned to the ship during the attack at Pearl Harbor.

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Website Maintenance

Due to ever changing technology every few years our website needs to undergo upgrades to bring you information in a way that is compatible with new devices.

During this upgrade, many links will take you to the older version of our website so that we can continue to provide information rather than take the website offline.

We appologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Please be aware there are many non-working elements in the old website.



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Website Maintenance




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USS Arizona Reunion Association newsletters.

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Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls - USS Arizona 1939-1942.

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Historical Gallery

Photo history of the USS Arizona from her birth to her final resting place.

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An assortment of USS Arizona Memorial photos past and present.

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Faces from the Arizona

Collection of photos of the men who served onboard the USS Arizona.

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For the last 15 years, USSArizona.org has been presented by the Nease Family; Budd, Carol & Nancy. With the passing of Budd in 2011 and the disbanding of the USS Arizona Reunion Association this coming December, this website now faces implementing paid subscriptions, or simply shutting down, due to ever increasing costs of operation.

Until his death in 2011, Budd Nease (USNR Ret.) served 10 years as Historian for the USS Arizona Reunion Association. His wife Carol assisted him with answering thousands of emails from service personnel, students of all ages, and people from all walks of life around the world. His daughter Nancy worked as his Assistant Historian and took over duties as Historian in 2011 as well as maintaining this website. Budd's grandson, Charles, has stepped into the role of Assistant Historian and answers emails as well.

One of Budd's greatest pleasures was assisting students with their research projects and linking them with USS Arizona survivors for interviews. In an effort to continue to keep this website free to students and the general public, and continue operations, we are asking for your help.

Please consider using the donation button below today to make your donation. Even the smallest gift will be greatly appreciated. We thank you for your help.

Nancy Nease
Nancy A. Nease

Historian, USS Arizona Reunion Association

USS Arizona Known Living Survivors

John Anderson  John Delmar Anderson BM2 USN
Lauren Bruner  Lauren Fay Bruner F3c USN
Louis Conter  Louis A Conter QM3c USN
Lonnie Cook  Lonnie David Cook S1c USN
Raymond Haerry  Raymond John Haerry COX USN
Clarendon Hetrick  Clarendon Robert Hetrick S1c USN
Joseph Langdell  Joseph Kopcho Langdell ENS USN
Ken Potts  Howard Kenton Potts COX USN
Donald Stratton  Donald Gay Stratton S1c USN