Lang celebrates a century with family and friends

Over the years, Joe Lang may not have done it all, but certainly, he’s come closer than most.

Joe Lang joins his former bandmates on the drums during the program at his 100th birthday party at the Stettler Community Hall on Saturday

Over the years, Joe Lang may not have done it all, but certainly, he’s come closer than most.

Lang worked and lived on his farm near Gadsby for more than 60 years, but his journey also took him to a lumber camp in Blind River, Ont., a building contractor in Sudbury, and a couple of coal mines near Edmonton.

For 17 years, he and his wife Lorraine drove local kids to and from school. Lang also ran a service station for more than 30 years.

A talented musician on the accordion and drums, Lang was a fixture with the Simon’s Orchestra for decades. At age 58, he took a correspondence course, and after passing his exam, he became a licensed piano tuner.

Lang — who turns 100 on Wednesday, Nov. 12 — said that hard work was something that sustained him through the years, when asked to name his secret to longevity.

“I don’t know if there’s a secret,” he said. “I did a lot of hard work in my younger days. That kept me going.”

Lang’s family and friends celebrated his centennial with a come-and-go party on Saturday, Nov. 8, drawing upwards of 200 people to the Stettler Royal Canadian Legion hall for the event.

Heather Lang, his daughter- in-law, said they were expecting between 130 and 150 guests for supper. The party attracted visitors from out of province, including several from Joe’s home province of Saskatchewan.

In addition to photos on display, congratulatory letters and certificates were received from Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman, Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson, Premier Jim Prentice, Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell, Stettler mayor Dick Richards, Gov.-Gen. Daniel Johnston, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Lang sat at the front of the hall, receiving a steady stream of well-wishers. Desserts, appetizers and drinks were served, including a three-part cake shaped like the number 100.

His oldest grandchild, Paula Stenland, served as emcee for the afternoon’s program, which included greetings from Lang’s three sons, Deral, Duane and Dwight.

“If you don’t know which of us is having the 100th birthday, he’s the guy over there with the black hair,” said Deral, grinning along with his silver-haired brothers.

Deral thanked everyone in attendance for coming to the party and noted that his father had just renewed his driver’s license, joking, “I hope he sticks around long enough to drive us three home tonight.”

Grandson Rob Lang read a quick history of Joe’s life, while Reeve Wayne Nixon brought greetings on behalf of the County of Stettler and presented a letter of congratulations and a plaque marking the milestone birthday.

Sheila Heighington presented her grandfather, a devoted Blue Jays fan, with a team jersey with the name “Lang” and the number 100 on the back. A letter of congratulations was received from the team’s president and CEO, Paul Beeston.

A group of musicians — including Terry and Joan Rushton, and Dale and Debbie Simon — also serenaded him, adapting the words of the 1919 song “Let the Rest of the World Go By” in tribute to him.

Joe joined them on stage at his old drum kit to perform four songs, maintaining a steady beat as his former bandmates played.

The fourth of ten children born to John and Elizabeth Lang, Joe was born on their farm north of Revenue, Sask., on Nov. 12, 1914. He attended school at Usselman and Princeton, moving on after finishing Grade 9.

He worked on the family farm and, later, for other area farmers until 1937, when he and his brothers ventured out to Ontario in a 1923 Ford Model T. After working for a lumber camp at Sudbury and a contractor in Sudbury, he returned home the next fall to help with the harvest.

He came to Alberta in the spring of 1941 to seek work in a coal mine. He met his future wife, Lorraine Matier, while playing at a dance, and they were married July 16, 1942 in Edmonton.

After a couple of mining jobs and other work, the Langs moved to the Westwoods area, renting the Mark Edgell farm in 1943.

Three years later, he bought John McKay’s farm at what was known as King’s Corner (now known as Lang’s Corner). He also kept busy with custom combining and operating the gas pumps, known as “Joe’s Service,” from 1947 to 1978.

A new barn was built on the Lang farm in 1962. Joe and Lorraine would remain on the farm until 2007, when they purchased a condo at Stettler’s Heartland Heritage Villas. They moved to Paragon Place in 2010; Lorraine passed away in February 2011 at the age of 91.

Lang’s family includes his three sons, seven grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.


Just Posted

County council writes off certain Botha accounts

Council hears public library saw 60,000 pass through doors this year

Stettler secondhand charity looks for new home

Superfluity lease not being renewed; will move by Sept., 2018

First auction of 2018 has solid numbers: auction market

Stettler Auction Mart sees 700 head move through Jan. 9

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

Lars Callieou to entertain in Halkirk on Feb. 10

Volunteer appreciation supper held on Friday night

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

With Senate talks falling short, U.S. shutdown enters workweek

President Donald Trump accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens

Toronto mayor wants city to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

The mayor of Canada’s most populous city says he wants Toronto to be among the North American cities to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup

With a lighter touch, SAG Awards follows a familiar script

Morgan Freeman accepts the Life Achievement Award at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday

S. Koreans burn Kim’s photo as N. Korean band leader passes

South Korean activists burned a large photo of Kim Jong Un as an extremely popular girl band passed them

Trudeau heads to Davos to pitch investment opportunities in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to Davos, Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum

Most Read

Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.