July 16th, 2024

Langenberg Optical will be dearly missed

By Lethbridge Herald on June 28, 2024.

Al Beeber – Managing Editor

With Canada Day weekend upon us, I thought long and hard about writing a column that might be sort of fun.

I considered reminiscing about the 1980s and Canada Day long weekends back in Ontario where July 1 was huge with hundreds of people congregating on the shoreline of Rainy Lake to watch waterbombing demonstrations, log-rolling competitions and other events or participate in a volleyball and softball tournament before fireworks late at night reflected upon the water where dozens of boats would be parked and even more people would gather at Pither’s Point Park for the celebrations.

Yes, I said log rolling which was big out there. In fact, a dearly departed local legend named Bill Fontana decades ago put on a show that was huge in the U.S. with his log rolling dogs. 

Good log rollers are amazing to watch and it was a normal sport in a  town where huge log booms would be moored on the lake before being pushed toward the paper mill.

Being on the U.S. border, the celebration would continue through July 4 when neighbouring International Falls, Minnesota celebrated Independence Day with its own spectacular fireworks display that was visible from Rainy Lake and Rainy River.

Hopefully, next year I get back for both for the first time since 1986 but this year I’m covering local celebrations here at Henderson Lake since I need to give reporting staff a much deserved day off.

Because of my own work demands here, I won’t make it to Raymond to cover the parade one last time which I’ll miss because I’ve had the chance to run into a few old friends along the route, a highlight last year seeing honourary parade marshal and Comet legend Lloyd Fairbanks for the first time in decades.

On Monday, I was hoping to catch up with my high school classmate Barb (Smith) Dalene and others as she watches her brother Dr. Terry Smith lead the parade as marshal, a well deserved honour for a highly respected and valued member of the community.

But the demands of this profession mean sacrifices as all of us journalists know.

So instead of focusing on July 1, I want to dedicate part of this column to Marcel Langenberg and his family who have operated Langenberg Optical on 3 Ave. S. across from Galt Gardens for decades.

Langenberg Optical is a staple of downtown, serving southern Albertans since 1968. Long-time residents may have picked up their prescriptions from Marcel’s parents before or after going for a Chinese food lunch a few doors down at the Majorette Cafe.

Since my first pair of eyeglasses back in Grade 5, I’ve gotten the majority of my eyewear from Langenberg’s who have always been so incredibly helpful and accommodating.

After my first cataract surgery, Marcel managed to create a pair of readers for me using one prescription lens and a reader in a frame so I could see properly here at my computer.

He’s been my go-to and for so many others in southern Alberta but today he’s closing the doors forever and retiring.

The Langenbergs have always epitomized what customer service is about. Helpful, accommodating and friendly, the family truly believed in taking care of their customers.

And they will long be missed.

Happy retirement, Marcel. You’ve earned it.

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You will be doing a lot of lasts before your retirement, but there will be many firsts in your retirement. You will be missed, but I am sure we will see some Letters to the Editor still at times, perhaps some retirement experiences.
I know International Falls . . . we used to stop at Fort Frances on the Canadian side at the A&W, enjoying a burger and root beer before heading south across an interesting small bridge into the US.
It was a nice drive from Winterpeg to Kenora and south to the border.
Stay well . . .

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