The Life Of Hans Langer 230 Photos

Hans (Josef Johannes) Langer was born July 12th 1942 in Prague, Czechoslovakia and passed away peacefully March 1st, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 

His Viennese parents, Maria Klara and Josef Johann Langer had settled in Prague prior to the war. Then upon the occupation of the Nazis, his father was conscripted for military service but refused to bare arms on the basis of his conviction as a Seventh-day-Adventist. His punishment was to be confined to a tent, in the middle of winter without food or blankets for a week. His superiors were amazed that he had survived and allowed him to serve as a motorcyclist courier for the remainder of the war. When Hans was three, Prague was liberated by the Russians. Hans recollected the time when his mother in response to pounding on the front door, opened it, to find a Russian soldier standing there. Possibly he was filled with compassion for the woman and her two young children and said “I see there is no body home right now, I’ll come back later.” Maria understood that their lives were in danger and fled with her two boys. Somehow they made their way to the small town of Freising, north of Munich. Hans’ father eventually located his family and settled in post war Germany. 

At the age of 18, Hans left his country and arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand to join his brother Peter who had already established a hairdressing business. The shy German, in the shadow of his brother, spoke no English but was a talented hairdresser and a hard worker. Adding to his identity was the fact that he was a foreigner, an alien.  

It didn’t take long, before a beautiful and vivacious hair dressing assistant took an interest in the foreigner, and decided to introduce Hans to Christchurch. Her name was Barbara. Together they embraced the kiwi lifestyle, picnics, movies, parties and horse racing. In 1964 Hans and Barbara married and had two children together, Brigid in 1967 and Kurt in 1972.

In his late 20’s, he began reflecting on his early childhood experiences, particularly his feelings about religion and God. He returned to the religion and the God of his childhood. 

Sadly, his marriage to Barbara, did not survive the change in world view and they separated in 1979. Hans desperately wanted to remain involved in the lives of his children and he and Barbara arranged shared care.

The years of hairdressing took their toll on Hans’ health. He considered a number of different business ventures including hydroponics, vinyl upholstery repair, a finance company, a second hand furniture store, the stock market, painting and even invested in a scheme of water powered automobiles. Eventually he became a door to door sales man of religious and health books (Literature Evangelist). He hated selling the books and would rather give them away. This attitude naturally, did not lead to financial prosperity. Fortunately, he had invested in property which provided him with a steady income throughout this time.

In 1990, Hans met and fell in love with a beautiful, gentle, lady named Jane. Two years later, in 1992, Hans and Jane married. Hans had a big heart and his concern for the well-being and happiness of Brigid and Kurt, extended to Janes children Terry, Shane, Emma and Daniel. For the next 25 years, Hans would speak of his love, respect, admiration and joy in Jane. Those who encountered Hans knew that he was a man who had discovered love and was loved deeply.

In 1998 Hans and Jane moved an hour north from Christchurch to Parnassus. They bought a villa which they renovated throughout the years. During this time, they shared their home with a variety of pets including cats, dogs, sheep, goats, birds, bees and even a pig or two. They enjoyed kayaking, cycling, swimming and travelling. When at home, Hans loved chopping up trees with his chainsaw, cutting the grass with his ride-on and doing odd jobs for Jane. At the end of the day, a highlight was for the two of them to share a bath together, outside, under the walnut tree.

Hans was always on the look-out for the people that were hurting, and felt a keen need to support the person that was an underdog. He ranked the sad, the lonely, the poor and hungry highly. He had a saying ‘Everyone that eats should help somebody that doesn’t eat’.  He accompanied his words with action by way of generous financial support over many years towards charities such as ADRA, Asian Aid, World Vision and the Seventh-day-Adventist Church.  

In 2013 Hans was diagnosed with liver cancer with a life expectancy of six months. For the next four years he and Jane tried various remedies to fight the cancer. Towards the end of last year, it became obvious he was losing the fight. He put his house in order and then rested in the devoted care of Jane. He breathed his last, with Jane by his side.

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