There were numerous undertakers in Berea over the years, and it seems that their business changed hands fairly frequently by either consolidating or selling to another concern. Rarely was there more than one undertaker in the village for very long. The Lang family was only in the furniture/undertaking business in Berea for less than 10 years, but the eventual success that followed returned to Berea as a lasting legacy.
Louis John Lang was born March 23, 1867 and George Christian Lang was born September 27, 1870, both in Dunkirk, New York to German immigrants John A. and Theresa Fischer Lang who had arrived in 1853. They had three sisters all born in Dunkirk: Elisabeth (1874-1942), Rose (1868-1887), and Maria/Mary (1876 – 1962). Their grandfather Alois Fischer had also settled in Dunkirk and was employed in the local area as a carpenter. It is likely this is where the brothers learned their future trade. George and Louis grew up on their father’s farm and came to Berea in 1891 at ages 21 and 24 respectively. Louis opened a furniture store and undertaking business on upper Front Street in competition with the Eckert Brothers and later moved down the road near the present conservatory building.
George studied for two years at the German-Wallace College, then moved to Chicago Junction, Ohio (now Willard) to work in the stone and coal business for two years. He then moved home to Dunkirk, NY and worked a few years in the ice and coal business. George returned to Berea and worked with his brother Louis for a short time, but then In April 1897 he moved to Cleveland and opened a small furniture and undertaking business on Lorain Avenue near Clark Avenue. In 1898 he married Miss Emma Stocker from Cleveland who eventually became president of the business. Steady growth of the business required expansion, so in 1910 they purchased the lot at West 95th and Lorain and constructed a 3-story brick establishment. By 1924 they needed to expand again and relocated to West 122nd and Lorain. George was a member of the Civic League, he was on the Advisory Board of the United Bank, director of the Depositors Savings & Loan Company, president of the Board of Trustees of the German Methodist Episcopal Church, and a Trustee of German-Wallace College. He also belonged to the Knights of Pythias, the Idonia Lodge, and the Independent Order of Foresters. The couple contributed the finances for Emma Lang Hall (originally just for women) at Baldwin-Wallace College in 1928, as well as a cottage at the Methodist Home for Children in 1938.
After George moved to Cleveland, Louis sold the business to the Eckert Brothers in 1899 and returned to Dunkirk in 1900. There he successfully opened a business selling furniture and household goods. He was in business with his future brother-in-law George H. Graf initially, later purchasing his share of the business. Louis married Miss Barbara Graf from Tonawanda, New York in 1894 and they had 3 children. Louis’s sister Elisabeth Lang, married his former partner George Graf in 1898 and they had one son. Elisabeth died in 1942, and husband George Graf died in 1950. Both are buried in nearby Fredonia, New York. The youngest Lang sister, Mary, had married John George Klink Jr. in Berea in 1895, and they had one daughter Ruth who was born in 1902. They had stayed in the local area primarily farming. Mary died in 1942 and John died in 1958, and both are buried in section 10 at Woodvale Cemetery.
Louis John Lang died in Williamsport, PA at age 51, of meningitis complicated by depression, anxiety and over-work. He had been living in Prattsburg, NY, and is buried there; his wife Barbara died at age 56 and is buried with family in Fredonia, NY. George Christian Lang died at age 64 of lobar pneumonia, and Emma Lang died in 1967. They are both buried in Lakewood Park Cemetery.