"Because of his outgoing nature, sense of humor and intelligence, Larry was instrumental in bringing many able people into the Saskatchewan Outdoor Environmental Education Association in its early years."
(Melanson Award citation, 1995)
Larry Lang (Melanson Award Winner, 1995)
Larry was born in 1931 in Bateman, SK. In earlier years, after his childhood, Larry had a variety of jobs including "stuking," telephone pole man (installing some of the first telephone lines in Saskatchewan) and was involved with many community activities, including being the treasurer for local organizations. He played several sports including basketball and was a wrestler ("140 pounds of fighting fury"!). He was a pilot officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1959 to 1969 and became the sports editor for the Moose Jaw Times Herald. He was a natural at almost anything he tried.
Larry also pursued academia and studied history and education, became a high school history teacher, and ended up professor of education at the University of Regina until his retirement in 1993. He was heavily influenced by John Dewey and used his principles to design children's playgrounds and to pioneer learning programs in physical education and outdoor education, receiving awards of honour for the latter.
In the early 1970’s, Larry was very active on the Executive Committee. He worked closely with and supported Bernie Melanson in her outdoor education activities such as visiting schools throughout Saskatchewan giving outdoor environmental education workshops. Because of his outgoing nature, sense of humor and intelligence, he was instrumental in bringing many able people into the Saskatchewan Outdoor Environmental Education Association in its early years. Some of these people helped to produce outstanding conferences.
Larry was a leader in setting up the outdoor education minor at the University of Regina. He also was a leader in getting the requirement for all elementary and secondary education students at the University of Regina to have an outdoor experience as part of the requirement for their degree in education.
Larry was a man of many interests and much talent and therefore many achievements. Professionally, he was probably most proud of his teacher education project in Cameroon; personally, the log cabin he built with Mike Federko in Northern Saskatchewan (which sadly burned down in a forest fire several years ago). Larry was also a gardener, outdoorsman (cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing), carpenter (designing and building furniture and wooden play structures for the university children's program), curler, wood carver and finally a stone carver sharing his sculptures widely. He was married to Lillian for 56 years (who he met playing ping pong) and after raising their family, they spent many happy years travelling around the world together, visiting dozens of countries.
Larry was liked and respected by everyone and had many very close friendships. He was genuinely interested in people, no matter what their background or interests were, in hopes of learning something new. Larry liked to share everything he learned with anyone who showed interest. For a man of his generation, he was very affectionate and expressed his love to those around him openly and often.
Larry passed away in 2017 at age 86.
Larry Lang Melanson Award Citation, SOEEA, 1995
Larry Lang Obituary, Regina Leader-Post, Aug 2, 2017