Longtime Falls Church City resident Mary-Paget S. Langalis, 81, died at home July 10, ending a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
She was born July 9, 1930, at Hagerstown, Maryland, eldest of three children of the late Dr. Walter H. and Anne Marie Shealy of Sharpsburg, Maryland, where she grew up. She attended Washington County public schools and graduated from Wilson College in 1951 with a B.A. in music (piano).
She joined the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D.C., in 1951. Under CIA auspices, she learned Hindi at the Georgetown University Institute of Languages and Linguistics, and later learned Russian as well. In the mid-1950s she changed career tracks, from translator/analyst to reports officer in the Clandestine Services directorate. She left the agency in 1958 to accompany her husband overseas.
She lived 10 years in Latin America (Panama, Bolivia and Venezuela), adding Spanish to her foreign-language skills. Between the postings abroad, she settled in Falls Church from 1963-66 and returned to stay in 1971. In 1972, she resumed working in the local public library, specializing in cataloging for the children’s and juvenile collections. She retired in 2000.
When in Panama, Langalis regularly did “Gray Lady” volunteer nurse’s aide work at the Santo Tomas Hospital. In Bolivia, she co-edited the American-Embassy-sponsored La Paz Letter a monthly journal circulated to the resident U.S. official and foreign diplomatic communities. In the mid-1970s she was a stringer for the Falls Church-area edition of the then Globe Newspapers chain of suburban weeklies. She belonged to the Pack Horse Ford Chapter (Shepherdstown, West Virginia) of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Langalis’s keenness for foreign travel traced to 1950, when she and three college classmates toured England and the Continent on converted WW II military transports. Between 1974 and 2009, her foreign touring covered Russia and the Caucasus, East and North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and all of Western Europe.
Survivors include her husband of 57 years, Charles R. Langalis of Falls Church; a son, Charles A. Langalis of Rowayton, Connecticut; a daughter, Anne Elizabeth of Reston, Virginia; a brother and two grandsons.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday July 30, at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 2609 N. Glebe Road, Arlington (for directions and parking, see stmarysarlington.org). Memorial donations may go to College Advancement, Wilson College, 1015 Philadelphia Ave., Chambersburg, PA 17201; and Humane Society USA, 2100 L St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.