Dr. Robert Joseph Langer, an amazing husband, father and master of puns passed away, got back behind the wheel and took his final drive up to heaven on November 11, 2020. Bob was the first to laugh at a joke and the first hand to grab for the bill. A generous and loving soul with a zest for life, he will be missed by all and welcomed into heaven with the smile that never left his face.
He was born in Milwaukee on August 29, 1924 to Ethel and Joseph Langer. Having lived through the Depression, he lived his adult life as if anything was possible and nothing left unexplored.
After serving in the Army in WWII, he completed 4 years of college in 2 years and earned a cum laude doctorate from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1948. He was building his practice in Milwaukee when he was captivated by a beautiful brunette in the lunchroom at Sears Roebuck. Laverne was the love of his life and they married in 1951, beginning a 70 year love story filled with adventure and 3 children.
Bob’s talents were varied. While working his thriving optometric practice, he and Laverne built their first house, including the furniture. They filled the backyard with swing sets, barbecue pits and games. Oh, the games we played and the fun we had! His creativity was showcased by the movie parodies he and partners in crime, Warren and Patrica Lee, crafted and filmed in the basement. Gunsmog, Bride of Robotstein, Ten Little Indians and Follies Bizarre will be passed down for generations of laughs.
He loved to drive. Anywhere, anytime. We took annual trips to Las Vegas on Route 66 to visit his sister, Ruth, and he and LaVerne nearly achieved their goal of visiting every national park in America.
Bob was blessed to be a member of the Dirty Dozen: childhood friends and family who laughed, played and support each other to this day. He met George and Audrey Nelson in Amvets and our joint family vacations in Three Lakes were legendary. Their children are friends for life.
Bob moved to McFarland, Wisconsin in 1963 to start a new optometric practice in Madison. Lake Kegonsa became his new playground and there was a constant stream of guests to enjoy waterskiing, water volleyball, tobogganing and the giant kite he constructed to carry him across the lake on ice skates. A cabin in Townsend, Wisconsin fulfilled his dream of fishing (nobody could filet a Northern Pike with such precision) and sunset cruises on his pontoon boat.
Bob was joined in his optometric practice with his daughter, Dr. Andrea Langer, and his son, optometric assistant Scott Langer, until his retirement in 1989.
After his retirement, Bob and LaVerne got back on the road with in-laws Hank and Arleene Rose. They traveled west again and spent winters at The Corn Palace in Bullhead City, Arizona and Fall color trips in the Midwest. Bob was always at the wheel.
Bob believed his biggest accomplishment was his family. He crafted one that pulled together in times of crises and opened arms to all in times of joy. His favorite holiday was Christmas, presiding over a house full of kids, presents, and games of all kinds. He loved to decorate the inside and outside of the house with statues, wreaths, huge displays and so many lights the power would go out every time we used the microwave. His motto was “there’s always room for one more string of lights”.
It’s hard to know how to honor a man of 96 years, who gave so much to others and took so little for himself. Maybe this Christmas put on one more string of lights and say, “Bob, this one’s for you.”
Bob passed away at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King shortly after contracting Covid. He will be deeply missed by his beloved wife, Laverne; his children, Andrea Langer, Vicki (Gary) Rudzena, and Scott Langer; his loving step-family Chris (Jeanine, Sydney and Alexandra) Loomis, Pamela Dunlap, Stephanie Loomis and Morrigan and Nick Dunlap-Loomis, as well as his nieces, nephews and many friends and relatives. He has passed his torch to his grandsons, Josh and Cody Langer, aka “The Boys”, his third generation co-conspirators who forever kept him young at heart.
According to his wishes, a party will be held to celebrate his life when we can all get together and hug. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Red Cross and the Dane County Humane Society.
Online condolences may be made at www.maplecrestfh.com
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