Mariana Langwell never passed up an opportunity to go to Silver Dollar City. After moving to Springfield in 1985, she and her second husband, the Rev. Samuel Langwell, visited as often as possible.

The couple loved the Christian influence and the friendly atmosphere of the theme park near Branson. Her daughter, Columbia native the Rev. Janna Knowles, said her mother practically begged her to come along.

“She would say, ‘Now Jan, I have passes for this day and this day and this day, you need to come down,’” Knowles said. Knowles was grateful for the chance to do so several times.

Mrs. Langwell died unexpectedly Nov. 8 in her Springfield home. She was 84.

Knowles described her mother as caring, loving and compassionate. She will be remembered for her love of her Lord, for her quilting and, of course, her appreciation of Silver Dollar City.

Knowles emphasized that Mrs. Langwell didn't like the rides at the amusement park. Rather, she loved to watch and listen to people perform. She and her son, Jeffery Hall, would wander from stage to stage to take in the music.

“It didn't matter who it was or what they were singing, she just wanted to hear the music,” Knowles said.

Mrs. Langwell's passion for music extended to church. She enjoyed singing and playing piano at her old church in Nelson, where her first husband, the Rev. Delbert Hall, was the pastor. Although she never thought she sang or played well, Knowles has fond memories of hearing her perform.

Mrs. Langwell was a devout Christian. Her pastor, Alvin Blackard of North Side Assembly of God Church in Springfield, said she was quiet, reserved and determined.

“Even in her old age, she did not slow her faith down or her commitment to the church,” he said.

Mrs. Langwell worked with her friend, Doreen Sutterfield, as officers in the women’s ministry and worked with members of other regional churches to raise money to pay for missionary trips.

“They would bring projects and get together and do quilting. Then they would take the quilts to give to the missionaries, and they would take them wherever they were going," Karen Sims, Sutterfield's daughter, said. "They would raise money. When the missionaries left to go overseas, they would pack everything in these big huge barrels.”

Although she eventually retired from her position as an officer in the women's ministry, Blackard said Mrs. Langwell continued attending ministerial meetings and to quilt for the missionary fund-raisers.

Knowles said Mrs. Langwell began quilting after her mother died. She had long been a skilled seamstress and made most of her and her children’s clothes when they were growing up. She also commemorated her late father in her old age by carrying peppermint candies in her pocket and handing them out — often to her grandsons.

One year at Christmas, one of her grandchildren gave her a 50-pound box of peppermints.

“Daddy carried peppermints for the children, so I have to because Daddy did,” Mrs. Langwell would say.

Mrs. Langwell was from a long line of Columbians, dating back to the town's founding in 1821. Knowles said she graduated from Hickman High School in 1955. She is buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia.

  • Reporter, fall 2020 Studying convergence investigative journalism Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at or at 573-884-5366.

Recommended for you