John  Leland

Obituary of John Lowell Leland

Salem, WV - John Lowell Leland, 74, died May 15, 2024, from heart disease. He was born March 11, 1950, in Bowling Green, Ohio, the elder son of Lowell Pond Leland and Virginia Thornton Everett Leland. He attended local public schools in Bowling Green and graduated magna cum laude from Bowling Green High School. He acted in several school plays and was a member of the dramatic honor society Thespians as well as competing up to the state level in humorous declamation. He then attended Bowling Green State University, where his parents were professors, and graduated magna cum laude in 1972 with majors in history and English. He then earned a masters (1974) and a doctorate (1979) in medieval studies at Yale University. He held temporary teaching positions at Pikeville College (now Pikeville University) in Kentucky, Millersville State College (now Millersville University) in Pennsylvania, and the University of Nebraska, as well as Bowling Green State University. He served two years (1987 -1988) as a Volunteer in Mission for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Daegu, Korea, while teaching English at Keimyung University. In Korea he met his future wife Carol Ann, then serving in the U.S. Navy as a chaplain’s assistant. After returning to the United States, he became a professor at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia (later Salem International and now simply Salem University). He taught there from 1990 to 2003 and again from 2005 to 2016. Carol came to join him, and they were married at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in 1995. (From 2003 to 2005 he taught at California Baptist University in Riverside, California, where he was wife caring for her father Charles.) John was chrismated as a member of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church in 2015 and earned a Masters in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies, being one of the two student graduation speakers Sept.1, 2022. Aside from his professional and scholarly activities, John was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an organization for recreating the more pleasant aspects of the Middle Ages. He founded the Barony of the Middle Marches, the first SCA group in Ohio, in 1970, and received the titles of baron and Master of the Laurel for the arts, chiefly poetry. After moving to Connecticut, he won the title of King of the East for one term and the permanent rank of count. He won the title of Baron of the Far West while living in Korea, and later was given the title of Master of the Pelican for service in the Kingdom of Aethelmearc. John was also active in Freemasonry, having served as Master of Salem Lodge 84 and Friendship Lodge 56, as well as High Priest of Adoniram Chapter 11 of Royal Arch Masons and Commander of Clarksburg Commandery 13. From the time of his first arrival in Salem, he was an active volunteer at Fort New Salem, and later served a term as president of the Friends for Fort New Salem. In recent years he often told the traditional Appalachian “Jack Tales” at the annual Myths of the Mountains events. John was preceded in death by his parents, Lowell and Virginia Leland. He is survived by his loving wife Carol; his stepson, Brian Zumwalt; his brother, Will and his sister-in-law Mary Leland; as well as several cats. Visitations and a funeral were held in Salem, West Virginia, under the care of the Davis Funeral Home, Salem. Online condolences can be expressed at A committal service with Masonic services will be held 11AM Thursday, May 30, 2024, at the Knowlton’s Mills Cemetery in Sangerville, Maine. Local arrangements are under the care of the Lary Funeral Home. An obituary may be viewed at

Committal with Masonic Services

11:00 am
Thursday, May 30, 2024
Knowlton's Mills Cemetery
Knowlton Mills Road
Sangerville, Maine, United States
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