Memorial Day Heartbreak: In Memory of Howard Langer

On this Memorial Day, some sadness has hit too close to home.

Although it happened on December 28, 2010, I did not know until I received a phone call last night.

One of my favorite college professors had died. His name was Howard Langer.

He was only 44 years old.

Even worse, he took his own life.

He was one of the smartest people I have ever met. He was also one of the nicest people on this planet. The cliche in this case is very true. There was not a single person I ever met who had a bad word to say about him.

He was only in his early twenties when he was my professor. So he was like a friend as well as a teacher.

We lost touch over the years, and I often wondered how he was doing.

I took several business and economics classes with him. His favorite phrase was “ceterus paribus,” meaning “all things considered equal.” Every class it was a different language. One time he said it was Canadian for all things equal, another time Swahili.

He would give us essay exams that would make your arms fall off from writing. Yet with ten minutes left in the class, he would say, “Ok, you should be almost finished with question number one now.”

Sometimes I would stop by his classes even though I was not in them. I would peek my head in just to say hello as class was ending. He would say, “We have a guest lecturer today.” He was so down to Earth and funny.

Apparently he was from a very wealthy family, but none of us knew that. He acted just like a regular person living a modest life.

He was the one who prepared me for the Series 7 stockbrokers exam. If it was not for him, I may not have made it in the industry. My entire 15 year Wall Street career started with his guidance.

For those wishing to visit his grave site, he was put to rest at Mount Sinai in Hollywood Hills. He is interred in a Wall of Blessings in grave # 54348. Take a walkway between Maps 1 & 2 to the very back. He is on the 3rd level of the Wall. If you passed the Courts of Tanach, you have gone too far.

Simply put, he was one of the kindest people I have ever encountered.

He will be missed.

Farewell Howard. You were one of the best.


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