RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — An official at the North Carolina Zoo has confirmed the name of the employee who died after a fall Thursday.
An obituary for Branson Joe Langley, 38, of Staley, was posted online by Loflin Funeral Home & Cremation Service.
According to zoo officials, Langley died while participating in an aerial drill at the zoo, just before it opened to the public Thursday morning.
Langley was a native of Randolph County and had worked as a Certified Arborist with N.C. Zoo in Asheboro for 10 years and 10 months said zoo director Pat Simmons. According to the obituary, he graduated from Eastern Randolph High School in 2000 and a 2002 Magna Cum Laude graduate of Sandhills Community College. Langley was very religious and was a member of Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Liberty, where he was vice-chairman of the deacons and enjoyed working with the student ministries. He participated in the church's vacation bible school and was supposed to be in a church play Thursday night.
Funeral Services for Langley is scheduled for 2 pm on Sunday, July 21 at Sandy Creek Baptist Church, Liberty.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina Zoo Society established a trust fund for Langley’s 9-year-old daughter.
The society sent this statement below to WFMY News 2:
"The staff of the North Carolina Zoological Society is mourning the loss of Branson Joe Langley, the dedicated and beloved arborist who died in an incident at the North Carolina Zoo on July 18, 2019. We will miss him, and we, as an organization, have decided to honor his memory and his life by establishing a trust fund to provide support to his precious 9-year-old daughter, Maggie. “The Maggie Fund” will be used to further her education and help her achieve all the dreams that her father wished for her.
Individuals can donate to The Maggie Fund, by mailing a check to the North Carolina Zoo Society or by making a donation online. Please address mail-in donations to The Maggie Fund; In the care of the North Carolina Zoo Society; 4403 Zoo Parkway; Asheboro, NC 27205.
Online donations may be made by going to the Zoo Society’s Webpage at nczoo.com. We will begin accepting online donations for The Maggie Fund by noon on Saturday, July 20, 2019.
Donations made by mail or online will be acknowledged by a letter that will be sent to the donor and a letter that will be sent to Mr. Langley’s family.
The North Carolina Zoo Society is a private, 501(c)3 nonprofit that raises money and engenders public support for the North Carolina Zoo.
About the North Carolina Zoological Society
The North Carolina Zoological Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and conservation. The Zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, Susi Hamilton, Secretary; Roy Cooper, Governor."