Nature 22

William Arthur Lang

April 22, 1944 ~ January 12, 2021 (age 76)

Obituary Image


Dr. Bill Lang died of respiratory failure after a long battle with lung disease.  He leaves behind his wife of 43 years Lois Lang who will miss him terribly.  He was predeceased by his mother, BerDeen George, brother Clark Lang, and father William Arthur Lang, all of Oklahoma.  Also his dear father-in-law Steve Bleakley of Calgary.  He is survived by his precious relatives from the US, Lou Ann Buck, Dana Buck, Paul Buck, Edith Cranor-Buck, and Hollin (Greg) Buck Anderson, all from Missoula MT.  Also Maren (Mike) Buck Kinsinger of Westhampton, MA.  He leaves behind his dearly beloved Calgary relatives:  mother-in-law Isabelle Bleakley, brothers-in-law David (Inga) Bleakley & Brian Bleakley, nephew Ben Bleakley, neice Katherine Bleakley.  He will also be mourned by all of his cousins to whom he was very close, from both sides of the Bleakley family across the US & Canada as well as Great Britain & New Zealand.

Bill was a remarkable man with many interests as well as being a gentle, humble & modest soul with a great sense of humour.  Born in Tulsa Oklahoma, he finished a Bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma University.  He was drafted into the Viet Nam war where he served as a medic & when he returned to the US, moved to Canada with his first wife Virginia Young.  They began birdwatching together but were divorced in 1976.  He went to University in Calgary where he received his Education degree so he could teach school which he did for several years especially helping troubled children & young teens.  During the summers he worked as a field naturalist at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary where he met Lois.  He went back to UofC to obtain his Master’s & PhD degrees.  He was the counselor at the Banff School of Fine Arts (Banff Centre) for 25 years part time.  He & Lois took cycling vacations all over the world for 25 years, including birding in their adventures.  They also did birding trips to many special places in the world - their favourite being Antarctica. 

He was an excellent and prolific photographer who could find the right frame for any scene from nature, especially if a bird was present.  His photographic legacy would make an excellent exhibition. His photos grace the walls of his home.  He was a man who could do anything he put his mind to, including integrating modern technology into his life.  When he and Lois moved from Calgary to Maple Creek, SK 7 years ago, they built a new solar-powered home which he designed.   It incorporated the latest technology and is an energy-efficient, high-tech marvel.  It also has a yard full of bird feeders and plants to nourish bees & butterflies.  Maple Creek is a wonderful area for birds, and he & Lois had many outings with their special birding buddies from SK (Don, Ron, Julie, Moe, Marg & Carman).

The greatest legacy of his life is surely his work in suicide prevention.  Over the last 40 years he & his partners at LivingWorks Education developed the world’s leading suicide intervention training programs.  They provide communities & organizations with suicide prevention solutions encompassing thousands of trainers, and have trained over a million people to prevent suicide.  He wrote most of the programs with input from his wonderful partners. Few can claim they had so profound an impact & saved so many lives.

Due to Covid a celebration of life service will take place at a later date.

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