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Former mayor and life-long Bozeman resident, Don M. Langohr Jr., died peacefully of natural causes Oct. 29, 2013, in Billings. He was 89. He was born in Bozeman, July 26, 1924, to Don M. Langohr, Sr. and Florence Myers Langohr. He graduated from Gallatin Co. High in 1942. During college, he met his future wife, Patricia Davidson, at the 1946 Bobcat Grizzly football game in Butte. Don and Patty were married July 10, 1949, in Rosebud, Mont. They celebrated their 64th anniversary this summer.
In his youth, during an age when young people were fascinated by the advent of the airplane, Don built and flew free-flight model airplanes as a member of the Rocky Mountain Gas Model Club. One such flight, launched in Bozeman, caught a thermal and found ground over the hill near Livingston. The creativity and industry of the club members would carry over to their service in World War II. All 27 members of the club served – five of the boys would lose their lives.
From 1943-1946, Don served in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician. He installed top-secret radar, identification and jamming equipment on Navy Liberators. In 1949, he set aside his career when he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War where he completed a 10-month combat zone deployment serving with VF 712 aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Antietam (CV- 36). He would later earn his private pilot and HAM radio license.
His formative experiences would lead him to a degree in electrical engineering from Montana State College in 1946. He made many long-lasting friendships as a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. As summer employment, he drove the iconic yellow touring buses in Yellowstone Park.
After graduation, he was offered a job with two regional power companies. Instead, Don decided to partner with his father in the greenhouse business, Langohr's Flowerland. The greenhouses, at one time a mile from town, would provide for three generations of the family over an 80-year span. He served as president of the MT and NW Florist Associations. Don was honored as the MSU Alumni Foundation/Chamber Businessman of the Year and was a recipient of the Chamber's Guy Sperry Award. After his retirement in 1979, he assisted with the management of family ranching interests in eastern Montana. He served on the board of Montana Bank.
Don spent countless hours playing the piano to the enjoyment of his family and friends. He chronicled his wartime experience with his photography, a hobby he carried on for years. He was a student of Montana history amassing a large library. He skied the local hills of Bozeman for many years speaking fondly of the early ski history of Story Hills, Bear Canyon and Bridger Bowl. In his later years, his young lively granddaughter, Kara, kept him entertained.
He was known by many for his dry wit, subtle sense of humor, clear values and unassuming nature. He was especially proud of the Bozeman area community, his military service, his family and his heritage in the Gallatin Valley.
Don gave his time freely to civic affairs. He was elected mayor of Bozeman in 1970. He served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Noon Optimists (a member for 65 years), American Legion (Commander), Gallatin Co. Pioneer Museum, SCORE and the QK Club. He was co-founder of the Chamber of Commerce Green Coats. He served on the MSC President's Advisory Board, the MSU Alumni Board, the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital Board and the Museum of the Rockies Board. He also served on the St. James Episcopal Church Vestry and as a Bridger Bowl Ambassador. His service was recognized by the Bozeman High School Alumni Association with his induction into the Bozeman School District Hall of Honor for Lifetime Achievement. He was Grand Marshall of the 1998 Sweet Pea parade.
In March of this year, he and Patty moved to the St. John's campus in Billings. In addition to his wife, Patricia, he is survived by his sister, Margaret Jeanne Shively; son, Mike (Callie) of Kalispell; son, Doug (Marilee) of Bozeman; daughter, Janis Johnson (Kevin) of Billings; granddaughter, Kara Johnson; and sister-in-law, Betty (Ray) Clark of Forsyth. He had six nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant daughter. Thank you to the staff of St. John's Langemo Cottage for the kind, considerate and professional care Don received in his final year.
Memorials in Don's name can be made to the Pioneer Museum. A memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman on Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow at the First Presbyterian Church.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Nov. 1, 2013