August 10, 1957-November 21, 1018
MUSCATINE, Iowa -- Kevin Fred “Pa” Lange, 61, of Muscatine, passed away on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, at his home.
“Cancer is only a chapter in my life, not the whole story.”
He fought long and he fought hard… Kevin “Pa” Lange was a warrior. For over 16 months, he courageously battled pancreatic cancer. He said, “I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to leave everyone I love.”
Kevin Fred Lange, 61, was born at Muscatine General Hospital on August 10, 1957, to Richard “Dick” Fred and Lorene (Paris) Lange. He was always proud that he carried the name Fred, after his grandpa Fred Lange.
Visitation will be held from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, November 24, 2018, at the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held the following day at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Harrison Cemetery in rural Wapello. A luncheon will be held in the Commons Area of the Muscatine High School after returning to Muscatine. Pallbearers are Donnie LaRue, Dale Jones, Lee Burningham, Keith Lange, Don Krings, Mike Toyne, Tony Milder and Jeff Rodts. Honorary pallbearer is Dave Hartman. Given the honor of taking Kevin on his final bus ride will be Jim “Woody” Harden, with Jim Hoover driving escort for the pallbearers on the Team Blond RAGBRAI bus. Online condolences: www.wittichfuneralhome.com
Kevin graduated from Muscatine High School in 1975. He worked at the family business, Lange Safety Service, with his dad and Keith. In 1980, Kevin was offered the position of Head Bus Mechanic at Muscatine Community Schools, retiring in 2013 after 33½ years. He was proud of his bus fleet, and everyone knew it. He then started his “retirement job” at Hahn Ready Mix driving cement truck.
During his teenage years, Kevin enjoyed flat track motorcycle racing. Lifelong friends were made during those years.
In 1976, Kevin met the girl who would become the love of his life, Diana Lynn Jacobs. They were married on April 29, 1978, at the Island Methodist Church. That makes 40 years… and as Kevin would say, “That's a pretty steep sentence for a first offense!” Kevin and Diana made a great couple, they loved being together. For years, they put thousands of miles on the motorcycle, visiting places and meeting people.
In 1981 and 1982, his daughters Jeanne Lorene and Betsy Lynn were born. With them being only 14 months apart, he often joked, “I almost got a matched set!” He was a proud papa.
Being a grandpa was one of the most important jobs Kevin ever held. Adam was born first, with Dominic coming months later, then Kali joined the family, and Owen and Layden finished the lineup. Owen gave him the nickname of “Pa”. He was so very proud of his grandkids.
For over 35 years, Kevin transformed into Santa, a job he truly loved. Hundreds of kids sat on his lap throughout the years, which means he shared hundreds of candy canes! Diana was the chauffeur of the sleigh when they did “Santa Hits” at the homes of friends and families.
Being a RAGBRAI bus driver to two different local teams was an adventure in itself! This was how his collection of “ugly shirts” got its start. That led him to wearing an ugly shirt to all his chemo treatments – “An ugly shirt to fight an ugly disease”. Pictures of them were shared with families and friends, far and wide.
Kevin didn't know a stranger, and was a friend to many. We are all lucky to have had him in our lives. He made the world a better place.
“Pa” will be deeply missed by his wife, Diana; daughters, Jeanne Harmon & beau Jeff Rodts and Betsy Milder & husband Tony, and grandchildren Adam, Dominic, Kali, Owen and Layden, all of Wilton, Iowa; sister, Kathryn Bean and husband Larry of Ainsworth, Iowa; brother, Keith Lange and wife Anita of Muscatine; many nieces & nephews; and scores of treasured friends.
Kevin was met in Heaven by his parents, Dick & Lorene Lange; in-laws Melvin & Jeanie (Irma) Jacobs, grandparents Fred & Mable Lange and Theodore & Anna Paris; and brother, Kenneth “Butch” Lange. He also met angel Baby Lange for the first time.