Dr. Michael deLaval Landon

Published 11:34 am Friday, March 26, 2021

Dr. Michael deLaval Landon, 85, Professor of History, Emeritus, beloved husband and, father passed away at his home in Oxford on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Visitation was held on Friday, March 26, 2021, from 3 until 5 p.m. in West Hall at Waller Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at 1 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with The Reverend Jennifer Southall and The Right Reverend Duncan Gray, III officiating. Burial will follow in Oxford Memorial Cemetery. 

Born in St. Johns, New Brunswick, in 1935 to Brigadier General and Mrs. Landon, Michael spent his early childhood in Canada. When his father retired to England after WWII, Michael began his academic career at Eastbourne College, later winning a scholarship to Oxford University where he received his BA and MA in History. After teaching at Manor House School in Horsham, England, Dalhousie School in Ladybank, Scotland, and Lakefield College School in Canada, he attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned an MA and PhD in History. In 1960, he was hired by the University of Mississippi, where his academic career included imparting knowledge to undergraduate and graduate students for more than four decades, acting director of the University Library, and acting Chair of Modern Languages. He is the author of a number of well-regarded books in the fields of history and legal history, including The Triumph of the Lawyers, The Honor and Dignity of the Profession, Erin and Britannia: The Historical Background to a Modern Tragedy, The Challenge of Service, and The University of Mississippi Law School: A Sesquicentennial History. He was a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the American Legal History Society. 

A strong believer in service to church and community, Michael served as a licensed lay reader, Sunday School teacher, and on the vestry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. Although he suffered from Alzheimer’s later in his life, he continued to take great pride in reading the Lessons in church, where his mellifluous voice and careful markings made his readings well received. Michael was a commissioner for the City Housing Authority in Oxford from 1983 to 2013, serving for 20 years as chairman of the Authority. 

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Michael is survived by his wife of 40 years, Carole Prather Landon, his son Clay Landon (Jennifer), his daughter Letitia Leslie (Rusty), stepdaughters Lelia and Conerly Casey and Margaret Casey Dowling (Will), and a loving tribe of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his brothers Guy, Timothy, and Christopher Landon and his former wife, Doris Landon. 

Charming, well-mannered and a born raconteur, Michael delighted in hosting and attending gatherings with colleagues, friends, and family. Pleasant rituals like tea, happy hour, and family holiday dinners were carefully observed, and an abundance of good food, drink, and conversation made invitations to these events quite happily accepted. A true gentleman and scholar, Michael could converse with anyone on nearly any subject, and he demonstrated kindness and respect for everyone he met. 

Memorial contributions in Dr. Landon’s memory may be made to the University of Mississippi’s Department of History, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655 or St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 113 South 9th Street, Oxford, MS 38655.