Former alderman Langeness remembered as Geneva 'volunteer extraordinaire'
Robert M. Langeness is being remembered as a longtime Geneva elected official and dedicated community volunteer.
Langeness, who died Dec. 1, served three terms on the city council and more than 25 years on the Geneva Chamber of Commerce board. He led the Swedish Days parade as its grand marshal in June. He was 79.
"When I heard he was grand marshal I thought 'He's hit his life's dream,'" said Daily Herald columnist Dave Heun, who worked with Langeness at the Kane County Chronicle. "That was probably the highlight of his life, other than his family."
Langeness was one of three people who suffered nonlife-threatening injuries in 1994 when the hot-air balloon they were riding struck a power line and caught fire near Carol Stream during the annual Swedish Days celebration. The men, who fell more than 30 feet to the ground, were taking part in Balloon Fest, a series of hot-air craft races, according to a Chicago Tribune story.
Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Langeness grew up in the St. Charles area and graduated from St. Charles East High School. He later joined the army.
As an elected official, Langeness served as a fifth ward alderman from 1977 to 1989.
"He was always involved with Geneva, especially the Geneva Chamber of Commerce," former alderman Chuck Brown said. Brown's time on the city council overlapped with Langeness' tenure.
" (Langeness) was involved in everything, all the time," Brown said. "He was very interested in the city of Geneva and he always had an opinion."
Brown said Langeness didn't mind if other people didn't agree with him.
"He was a voice always raising questions and asking questions," Brown said. "It was fun to work with him. Geneva has lost someone who contributed to our city over the years."
Before serving on city council, Langeness was a Republican precinct member. His civic involvement included a stint as chairman of the council's police and fire committee, chairman of the Geneva Public Safety Committee and as a board member for the American Cancer Society and the United Way.
As a member of the Chamber, Langeness was considered a "volunteer extraordinaire" who served on the golf committee and worked at all of the organization's festivals, officials said in a statement.
While the new Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital was being built on Randall Road, he was active as part of the hospital's foundation board. He was also involved in the Geneva Lions Club, the Medinah Shrine, the Fox Valley Shrine Club and Geneva Masonic Lodge #139, according to Yurs Funeral Home in Geneva.
And, Langeness had a love for Doberman pinschers, and had six of the dogs during more than 30 years, according to Yurs.
"He loved his dogs. He talked about them all the time," Heun said.
After beginning his career in advertising at the Chicago Tribune in 1970, Langeness moved to the Geneva Republican. He was hired as advertising director at the Kane County Chronicle in 1982 and continued to work for the Republican after it was acquired by Shaw Media.
Langeness is survived by his wife, Joyce, his three children Troy, Todd and Amy and eight grandchildren.
Visitation is 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Yurs Funeral Home, 1771 W. State St. in Geneva. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at St. Mark's Church, 320 Franklin St. in Geneva. Interment will be at Oak Hill Cemetery in Geneva after the service.