November 26, 1969 - May 5, 2006
The Story Of Kurt Langer
By: Gary Distel, Jeff Illies, Greg Spanier
To best describe Kurt and the storied life he lived, the eulogy that was written and presented at Kurt's funeral by three of his close friends is presented below:
I know I can speak for myself and these two guys next to me, Greg and Jeff. And I think I can speak for the entire congregation - we love you Kurt Langer. Another consensus of this group is that Kurt made us all better. Whatever it be by example, words, the way he lived his life, or the passion he brought to any commitment. he was the best of us. As tragic as Kurt's passing is for all of us, he once again has brought all those he loved together to celebrate the storied life he led. We have selected four chapters of his beautiful life to share with you today. In each of these chapters we have selected items that hopefully exhibit the type of person Kurt was.
The first part, the most important part of Kurt's life, we would like to touch on is his family. The items presented include a puzzle, barnyard toys, a blue blanket, and a set of keys to a van. The puzzle symbolized Kurt's love and devotion to Emma, for they spent hours putting them together. The barnyard toys represent the time Kurt and Adam spent together imagining life on the farm. The blue blanket reminds us of the wonderful gift presented to Kurt and Denise, his name is Drew. And finally, the set of keys shows us Kurt's commitment to family with the purchase of a new minivan, even though he probably wanted a sports car. This was given to Denise to represent 10 wonderful years of marriage.
A wise man once said a true tribute to one's character is their ability to love. Kurt was full of love for all, especially his family. Gary and Diane, we cannot fathom the pain that you are experiencing, but what a job you must have done raising such a fine individual. Kris, you not only lost a brother, but a friend. Denise, I don't know of any man who lived his wife more than Kurt loved you. And to Emma, Adam, and Drew; as years pass you will come to learn what a special father you have. His family was his life!!!
Our second chapter of Kurt's life involves his love for athletics. At this moment a baseball bat signed by this year's Rocori baseball team along with a football and Kurt's Melrose Black Sox uniform are being brought up.
Kurt was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Melrose High School. He won numerous awards including MVP honors of his football team. At Fergus Falls he excelled on the college football field. Choosing a career in education allowed Kurt to remain in athletics as a coach. His career began at Tracy-Milroy where he guided their baseball team to two state appearances. In the fall of 1998, Kurt left Tracy-Milroy where he became the District's Technology Coordinator. At Rocori Kurt became a fixture in both the Football and Baseball programs.
Kurt may have had a lot of people influence his life, however, I'm here to tell you, he was the influential one. Kurt was my assistant coach for seven years. I learned more from him than anyone I have encountered in my life. He taught me mostly about people and relationships. No one, I repeat no one, was a better teacher of the game than Kurt. Not one got more out of their players than Kurt and no one developed more positive relationships with athletes than Kurt.
He was a rare breed. Some coaches are great at the X's and O's, others do well at teaching fundamentals, while still others are great motivators. Kurt was all of these things. Of all of Kurt's gifts as a coach, throwing batting practice was NOT one of them. He always claimed to have a sore arm. I often told him "please don't throw in front of the players, they may imitate you." Of course we all blame Ken Picha for this.
The third chapter of Kurt's life involved his friends. The deck of cards, computer network backup, and Big Al's Corral T-shirt being presented are representative of the full life Kurt led.
All of us here today are a testament to lives Kurt touched. He seemed to define the term "friend." It would be interesting to have a show of hands in this congregation today as to how many computers Kurt fixed for all of us. He asked for no payment other than simply a cold Miller Lite. What a friend.
The fourth chapter in Kurt's life involved who he was a person. the item being presented is an article that was in the St. Cloud Times written by Tom Fenton, which eloquently describes the character of Kurt Langer.
One of the descriptions of Kurt came from his former football and basketball coach Darryl Oja in a gathering on Saturday at Gary and Diane's house. Coach Oja uttered the words, "Kurt was the best to come out of Melrose and when he went to ROCORI, they go the best." What a complement. I am sure everyone at Tracy-Milroy would concur.
Kurt Loved his job, he often told Denise and others he had the best job in the world. Kurt knew that not everyone had this luxury and he felt lucky. We choose to think he actually made great choices. Denise wanted us to make sure to pass on some advice she knows Kurt would want all of you to know. Do what you love with your life. Choose a career based on passion and happiness rather than monetary pursuits. This will allow you to live your life to the fullest as Kurt did because he work up every day excited to go to work.
I am sure all of you can recall humorous situations where Kurt would intentionally get people in trouble. He was the master at starting a ruckus, walking away, smiling, and laughing. I recall a few times where colleagues of mine would punch me in the shoulder for no apparent reason only to see Kurt quickly walking away like the cat that swallowed the canary. He was indeed the great instigator. This is a wonderful example of humor Kurt brought to every day life. Let's all take a moment to reflect on a funny Kurt Langer story.
Kurt's story of life has unfortunately come to it's conclusion, but like any inspirational novel, it, and Kurt will live on forever through the lives of his family, friends, and all those he has touched. In Kurt's words, "Gotta Go."