Mary Louise Shafer Lang, a longtime employee of the Kenyon Bookstore, died Friday, Dec. 16, at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. She was 56 and a resident of Mount Vernon.
A graduate of Mount Vernon High School, Mary joined the staff of the Kenyon Bookstore in August 1997 as a stock clerk. Formerly the bookstore’s buyer for clothing and gifts, she was a customer-service associate at the time of her death.
“Mary had a heart of gold,” said Deb Shelhorn, campus safety supervisor and telecommunications coordinator. “She would do anything for anyone. The bookstore has suffered a great loss of a true friend to anyone who walked through its doors.”
“When I moved here from California, I was uncertain if I and my family would fit in or feel welcome in Knox County,” remembered Bookstore Manager Angus MacDonell. “Mary’s sincere interest and caring for me, my wife and my kids showed me just how special the larger Knox community is. She celebrated the birth of my first grandchild with me and offered comfort when my father passed away.
“Mary was loved by students, faculty and staff members, and the rest of the Gambier community,” he continued. “I watched Mary comfort distressed students on many occasions when their workloads were wearing on them. I remember her driving a stranded Kokosing Gap Trail rider to several locations in Mount Vernon in order to repair her broken bike so she could continue her trek across Ohio. Last winter, after a student had a brand new sweater stolen, Mary arranged for the store to replace it at no cost. In the days since her passing, dozens of people have come in to express their grief and their concern for Mary’s family. I will miss her friendship more than I can possibly express.”
Mary is survived by her husband, Dick Lang; six sons, Danny Lang, Joshua Lang, Jedidiah Lang, Caleb Lang, Isaac Lang and Austin Lang; a granddaughter, Xaria Lang, whom she and her husband were raising, and several other grandchildren; her mother, Nancy Shafer; five brothers, Jim Shafer, Tim Shafer, Joe Shafer, Tom Shafer and Mike Shafer; and her mother-in-law, Wanda McClain. She was preceded in death by her father, Ted Shafer.
A memorial mass and reception will be held early in 2017, with details to be announced at a later date. Arrangements are being handled by the Lasater Funeral Home on Upper Gilchrist Road in Mount Vernon.
“Mary was always taking care of everyone,” Shelhorn added. “She would visit friends and family members in the hospital or nursing home, or send flowers just to cheer someone up. She had such a kind soul, but with an ornery streak. We had so much fun together, and I will miss her terribly.”
by Tom Stamp ’73