Cessnock general practitioner, war veteran and volunteer Dr Donald Lang passed away on September 4 after a short illness. He was 92 years old.
From the time of his initial move to Cessnock with his family in 1961, Dr Lang was an active and engaged community member in the town and the wider Hunter region.
Born in rural Queensland, he grew up moving between towns due to his father’s work for the state government.
He attended high school in Toowoomba where he met his future wife Ethel Hornsby, and began studying medicine at the University of Queensland.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, young Donald signed up for the Australian Navy. As a sailor he was posted to the HMAS Cessnock, from which he witnessed the Japanese surrender in 1945.
After returning to Australia and finishing his studies, Dr Lang worked first in Brisbane, then in the United Kingdom, and afterwards in Canada.
It was in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan that he married Ethel and they had their first two children. Another child came in Montreal, and then the growing family moved back to Australia, settling in Cessnock after which three more children were born.
In addition to working as a busy doctor in the local area, Dr Lang was active in the local St Vincent de Paul, Lions, the Australian American Society, the local Historical Society, Labor Party and more.
After retiring from full-time work, he worked part-time at Allandale Hospital, worked in various rural locations in Australia and also spent a year treating patients in Papua New Guinea. His eldest daughter, Dr Isobel Lang, took his place in the medical practice in 1988.
In retirement Don and Ethel Lang kept a busy schedule of volunteering in the local Cessnock community, travelling to Sydney to see the opera, attending Catholic mass at St Joseph’s and enjoying time at home with their family. Ethel Lang passed away in 2009.
In his final years Dr Lang delighted in tending to the vast garden surrounding his home at Wollombi Road, prodigious reading and listening to classical music.
Dr Lang is survived by six children and six grandchildren, who will all miss his distinguished intelligence, wit and generosity.
His funeral will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church on Saturday at 10.30am.