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Robert J. Langer, Westbury firefighter, former Newsday driver, dies at 62

Robert J. Langer of the Westbury Fire Department

Robert J. Langer of the Westbury Fire Department is seen in this photo. Credit: Westbury Fire Department

Robert J. Langer, a longtime volunteer firefighter from Westbury and a former driver for Newsday, died on April 3 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, his family said. He was 62.

Langer was remembered as a man always willing to help others, a trait notably demonstrated by his efforts volunteering at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. His family said his work at the site was linked to his cancer diagnosis, and he received special medical benefits as a result.

"He was a volunteer fireman after 9/11 in the weeks after the attack," said his son, Gregory Langer of Ridgewood, Queens. "He was not a selfish person at all. He always put others first. He was always willing to lend a hand."

Robert Langer was a 27-year volunteer at the Westbury Fire Department. He was also a fourth-degree knight in the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Big Apple Umpires Association, for which he'd serve as an umpire at high schools around Long Island.

Gregory Langer remembered his father for his sense of humor and ability to both play a prank and take a joke.

"He was always falling asleep, wherever he was," his son said. "It was a running joke with us in the family. We would always make fun of him for it" in a good-natured way.

"He was a practical joker, but he was never blamed for it," said his wife, Karen Langer. "He was a cut-up in school."

Langer grew up in Westbury and attended St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay. He spent two years at St. John's University but did not earn a degree, his son said.

As a Newsday driver for more than 30 years, Langer worked long nights, delivering newspapers across Long Island and in New York City.

But Langer also cherished his time with the family.

On the day school let out for the summer, Langer would pack the family in the car and head south.

"He used to take us on road trips to Myrtle Beach or Florida for a week," his son said.

Karen Langer said her husband loved hockey, fishing and the Yankees, and had tickets to attend opening day with his granddaughter, Kylen Langer, but he died three days short of the event.

Survivors include another son, Robert of Westbury; a daughter, Kathrine of Westbury; and brothers Joseph of Wayne, New Jersey, and Norbert of Lincoln Park, New Jersey.

Services were held at St. Brigid's Catholic Church in Westbury, where Langer had been a congregant all his life. Burial was at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village.

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