Robert Joe (B.J.) Lange, 73, died recently and tragically from brain cancer. He was the loving and devoted husband for 50 years of wife Jo Ann (Jo), dear father of Andrew and daughter-in-law Ledon, and proud grandpa of Jackson. Robert is also greatly loved and missed by brother Marty, sister Loralyn (Allan) Hogue, brothers-in-law Bruce (Laurie) Tait and (late) Mark (Melissa) Tait; nephews Lucas (Shannon) and Mark Hogue, and nephews-in-law Jeff (Jennifer) and Brian Tait.
B.J. grew up in Wilton (Junction), Iowa, a historic railroad town — cherished in his memory for an ideal, small-town boyhood and its caring citizens. His late dad, Bob Lange, ran a garage, and Mom, Mary (Martin), was a teacher and homemaker. In high school, B.J. excelled in academics and in four sports — a standout and All-State star in basketball, which afforded him college scholarships at the University of Northern Iowa, and later at Monmouth College, Illinois, where he met Jo Ann. They were married in 1970 and settled in the Chicago area. B.J. became an American History teacher and coach at Lake Zurich (Illinois) High School. He retired after 35 years.
As a teacher, B.J. was dignified, serious, and passionate about his subject and students. He was proudly “old-school” in his methods and expectations. With his family, home and retirement life, he was equally enthusiastic. He was the grand organizer of his and Jo’s travel adventures and domestic projects. B.J. loved learning in general; he fervently believed in American democracy, the arts, humanities, and the importance of intelligent thinking.
He followed all Chicago sports teams, loved baseball above all — the White Sox AND Cubs. Talking sports with brother Marty, son Andy, and grandson Jackson was heaven to him. In fact, he was keen to engage people of all ages in many topics of conversation. B.J. treasured his wife’s home cooking, demanded to be in sole charge of their bird feeders, and enjoyed porch sitting and neighborhood walks. They both valued these simple pleasures of a contented and wonderful life, and will rest together in the small, old-fashioned Wilton cemetery, among generations of Langes, Martins, and beloved townsfolk.