Tonight Wendy, Mark, Oliver and I joined a lot of people in saying goodbye to our good friend Bert Lang.
I got to know Bert while working with him at the Salvation Army Community Services where we worked many of the same shifts during the week, the always exciting 4-12 shift. I worked 8-4 during the weekend which meant he relieved me each shift. Bert was there early so we always had a cup of coffee together where he would criticize me for how I made my coffee. In my defense, it was No Name coffee and I am not sure if Bert would recognize a fine cup of coffee if it walked up and introduced himself to Bert
Later on after I had left the Salvation Army he asked me to help him find him a position elsewhere and I recommended him to my friend, Shaun Dyer who hired him at the John Howard Society and I was thrilled when they started to work together.
Despite us not working together anymore at the same agency, we worked closely together on social and housing issues. Bert and I often talked when we needed professional advice and of course we had a close professional relationship. Bert got along with most people so of course him and Wendy clicked but Mark also thought the world of Bert, partly because when Mark was with me at work, Bert knew where the secret supply of Coke was and would recruit him to help out at the Front Desk. While it was our friend and co-worker who once joked with Mark that, “You don’t have to listen to your dad at the office,” Bert’s line was, “Mark is hard at work and needed a break”. Bert validated Mark constantly and I will always appreciate that.
As Wendy wrote about it, we were very happy to be invited to Bert and Don’s wedding a couple of weeks ago. Despite Bert being ill, it was a really happy day.
This was round three of cancer and it won this time. Bert will be missed badly by everyone that knows him.
Donald (Bert) Sladden Lang of Saskatoon, SK, went home to his Creator after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer on Thursday, July 4, 2013.
He was born to the late Faith Jeanne Sladden Lang of Edmonton, AB on December 28, 1956 in Edmonton, AB and is survived by his father, Benjamin Phillip Lang of Edmonton, AB.
Bert graduated from Ross Shepherd High School in 1974. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the Concordia University College of Alberta in Edmonton, AB in 1997.
After a career in business, Bert joined the world of charity work for Non Government Organizations and was most proud of his work with The Salvation Army and The John Howard Society who recently named a new facility after him: Bert’s Place.
Bert will be remembered as a caring and loving person who worked passionately to improve the lives of others. His razor sharp mind and wit will also not be forgotten by those who knew and loved Bert.
Bert is predeceased by his Mother, Faith Jeanne Sladden Lang, of Edmonton, AB; and his brother, Roland Lang of Edmonton, AB.
Bert is survived by his husband Don Lafreniere of Saskatoon, SK; his father, Benjamin Phillip Lang of Edmonton, AB; his sister Carol Lavold of Nevis, AB; his daughter Bethany Dodd, of Edmonton, AB. He is also survived by two nieces, Pam Lavold Hennig, of Sherwood Park, AB, and Nancy Warwaruk of Nevis, AB; and one nephew Wayne Lavold of Edmonton, AB. He is also survived by many other nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The John Howard Society of Saskatchewan.