category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

Marion ‘Lansford’ Jolley

Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences

Lansford Jolley

Marion “Lansford” Jolley (1927-2013), professor emeritus of social sciences, was born in Cleveland County, N.C., the son of M.A. and Dovie Jolley, of Boiling Springs. Lansford’s mother, Dovie H. Jolley, taught first grade at Boiling Springs Elementary School for 46 years and was a graduate of Gardner-Webb. Lansford’s father, Marion Augustus (Guss) Jolley, was a police officer and a cotton farmer. Lansford Jolley was the only professor at Gardner-Webb who was born, raised, and still lived in Boiling Springs at the time of his death. Lansford was married to Cothenia Jones Jolley (1926-2013); they had one daughter, Lana Jolley Henkel.

Cothenia Jolley was a counselor at Crest Senior High School for a number of years before her retirement from the Cleveland County Schools system. She also served as the archivist at Gardner-Webb from 1992 until 2004.

Lansford graduated from Gardner-Webb in 1947 with an Associate in Arts degree and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1949. He received a Master of Arts in 1954 and the Educational Specialist degree from Peabody College (now affiliated with Vanderbilt University) in 1960. He did other graduate studies at Peabody College and Florida State University. He received a grant to study programs of war and peace at Florida State in the summer of 1967.

Jolley’s teaching career began at Ellenboro School in Ellenboro, N.C., from 1949-1957. In 1957, Gardner-Webb invited him to join the faculty as an instructor of social sciences. He taught history courses and eventually taught sociology. He was the chairperson of the department of social sciences from 1958 until his retirement in 1992.

At Gardner-Webb, he chaired many committees, established the criminal justice program, and also served as faculty marshal.

Jolley was the principal writer of the book “Dreaming, Daring, Doing…The Story of Gardner-Webb University,” which highlights the history of Gardner-Webb from 1905-1997. After his retirement he wrote three additional books: “Visions of Faith, The Sesquicentennial History of the Kings Mountain Baptist Association, 1851-2001;” “Come On In and Sit-A-Spell;” and “The Coed’s Mite.” “Visions of Faith” earned Jolley a religious history award from the N.C. Society of Historians in 2002.

Jolley served on the Deacon Board of Boiling Springs Baptist Church as chairman, vice chairman, and secretary. His church activities included: Sunday school superintendent, Training Union director, and Sunday school teacher for more than 10 years. He served on committees such as history and construction. He was a member of the adult choir where he performed as a soloist and participated in small musical groups. He was a reader for various programs, chairman of the interim pastor search committee, chairman of the personnel committee, and church representative to the Executive Board of the Kings Mountain Baptist Association.

As a valued community member, Jolley was a long-standing member of the Boiling Springs Lions Club beginning in 1950. He served as vice president 1955-58 and president 1958-59. He was awarded the Lion of the Year Award in 1976. He was club representative to the Lions Club International in Atlantic City, N.J.; San Francisco, Calif.; and New Orleans, La. Jolley has a lengthy list of community service accomplishments: He was chairman of the Board of Elections in the town of Boiling Springs. He was Santa Claus for about 18 years for the Lions Club and other organizations and for the Boiling Springs Christmas Parade for many years. Jolley was the chairman of the Boiling Springs Committee for the 75th Town Celebration in September 1986.

As a community leader, he was a member of the Executive Board and the Board of Trustees for Crawley Memorial Hospital, where he served as chairman for several terms. He was a major leader in the fundraising campaign for Crawley Memorial Hospital.

Jolley was also a valued member of Cleveland County itself. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Cleveland County Department of Social Services. He served as a member of the Cleveland County Historical Association and became its first vice president. He was chairman of the Community Needs Association Study Committee for the Cleveland County United Way (1985-1986). He also served on the Board of Directors for the United Way in Cleveland County.

Jolley served on the Gardner-Webb faculty for over 35 years. When he retired as professor of social sciences at Gardner-Webb in May 1992, his colleagues organized a fundraising effort to establish The Lansford Jolley Social Science Scholarship.

In 1997, Gardner-Webb honored Jolley with the Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree for his lifetime of service to Gardner-Webb and the community. Ray Hardee, a former student of Jolley’s, said this about the man who spent over four decades in the classroom: “Lansford’s humility was disarming in places where pride is more common. Every time I think of him, I smile.”

The Jolleys were grandparents to twin grandsons, Jeremy and Jonathan Henkel.

Source: Personal Interview by Susan H. Belt, Dr. Darlene Gravett, Noel T. Manning II, and the Gardner-Webb Office of University Communications

Updated: August 2014 – February 2015, September 2022

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