Cover photo for Ralph Odell Lanier, Sr.'s Obituary
Ralph Odell Lanier, Sr. Profile Photo

Ralph Odell Lanier, Sr.

December 10, 1920 — November 8, 2023


Ralph Odell Lanier, Sr.


Ralph Odell Lanier, Sr. , age 102, passed away peacefully in the company of his beloved family on November 8, 2023. Born on December 10, 1920 in Davidson County, NC, he was the eldest child of James and Nona Michael Lanier, and had five beloved siblings who all preceded him in death:  Dwight Lanier, Emogene Lanier Cope, Wayne Lanier, Peggy Lanier Phillips, and Jimmy Lanier.


Mr. Lanier was married to Glenna Sharpe Lanier in 1940. They enjoyed 72 years together until Mrs. Lanier passed away in 2012. The couple had three children:  Judy Lanier Crutchfield, Ralph O. Lanier Jr. (predeceased), and Connie Lanier Johnson (Bruce, predeceased).  His life was further enriched by three granddaughters:  Carmen Crutchfield (John), Heather Crutchfield Bolick (Darin), and Jessica Johnson Meyer (Jenks), in addition to many adored great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. 


After graduating from Brevard College, High Point University, and Appalachian State University, Mr. Lanier began a longstanding career in education.  He began his career as a math & science teacher, and soon became principal at Churchland High School, Mt. Ulla High School, Cleveland High School, and Mountain Park High School.  Upon consolidation of the area high schools, Mr. Lanier became the first principal of Surry Central High School in 1961.  His tenure at Surry Central lasted until retirement in 1982, but he always fondly remembered the many colleagues and students that supported him over the years.  


In addition to his career in education, Mr. Lanier was an ardent community servant involved with numerous organizations in the foothills area.  Notably, he served as an active member and Elder in the Elkin Presbyterian Church (Elkin, NC), and formed lifelong relationships in fellowship with the church community.  Additionally, he was a Lions Club International member for over 65 years, where he received numerous awards and recognition for his dedication to the club.  The Lions Club founded the R.O. Lanier Citizenship Award in his honor shortly after his retirement.  Mr. Lanier immensely enjoyed meeting the many qualified scholarship recipients over the years.  In 2002, Surry Central High School added a Science and Technology wing, which was named in honor of Mr. Lanier.  In 2011, the Surry County Educational Foundation was established, and named its first endowed scholarship in his name.  The Foundation also recognized Mr. Lanier’s 50 year educational career in that same year.  There were numerous other organizations that Mr. Lanier generously supported throughout his lifetime, and they supported him in return.


The family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers, medical professionals, and special friends who provided care, kindness, and love to Mr. Lanier over the years, including:  The Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home, Joann Rodgers (predeceased), Evelyn Alred, LaDonna Lee, Karen Whitt, Kathy Dobson, Gene Everette, Gary York, and many others.


The public is invited to pay their respects to Mr. Lanier beginning  at 11:00 A.M. Wednesday, November 15, 2023, until 5:30 P.M.. A celebration of his life will follow at 5:30 P.M in the Moody-Davis Chapel. Following the service, the family will receive friends at the funeral home. A graveside service will be held Thursday November 16, 2023, at 2:00 P.M. in the Forest Hill Memorial Park, 1307 West Old Highway 64, Lexington NC 27915.


 In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests memorials be directed to the Surry County Schools Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 364, 209 Crutchfield Street, Dobson, NC 27017 (, or to a charity of your choice.


Go out into the world in peace. Have

courage. Hold fast to that which is good.

Return to no one evil for evil. Strengthen

the fainthearted. Support the weak. Help

the suffering. Honor everyone. Love and

serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of

the Holy Spirit.


And may the unconditional blessings of our

Loving Creator rest richly upon your life.

May you know the friendship of Jesus in

each and every step of your pilgrimage on

this earth. And May the Holy Spirit lead all

God's children into a future of hope and

promise, of joy and healing and love.

Alleluia. Amen

Go in peace.


                                      Rev. Stuart Taylor



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Past Services

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Starts at 5:30 pm (Eastern time)

Moody Funeral Services (Dobson)

215 West Kapp Street, Dobson, NC 27017

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Starts at 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Moody Funeral Services (Dobson)

215 West Kapp Street, Dobson, NC 27017

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, November 16, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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