Dr. Robert Lang
of Navarro County, Texas


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6/1/2004 Lang retires from pracitce

 
Dr. Robert Lang's last patient before retiring Friday is his daughter, Susan Lang McClanahan, seated. Also on hand were grandchildren Christopher and Leslie McClanahan. Daily Sun photo/SCOTT HONEA
 

By DEANNA PAWLOWSKI/Daily Sun Staff

All that remains in the office are some medical books, and a cluster of diplomas and certificates on the wall. The coat rack and desk will be used by granddaughter Leslie McClanahan while she attends University of Texas at Houston Medical School.

Dr. Robert A. Lang, D.D.S., is retiring after 50 years of practicing dentistry in Corsicana. His family gathered at his office of many years, to watch daughter Susan McClanahan take her place as Dr. Lang's final patient.

"As long as I can remember, as far back, he got the nickname 'Painless' from his friends," Susan said.

Born in Corsicana, Lang's family has deep roots in Corsicana. Allyn Park, at the end of Beaton Street, was named in honor of his great-grandfather, Captain Allyn. Allyn was also one of the five or six founders of St. John's Episcopal Church, where Lang is a fifth-generation member.

After high school, Lang was not sure what to do.

"I was undecided, ambivalent," he said. "I really wanted to go to medical school, but my father wanted me in dentistry. I went to pre-med at SMU, but I got an eye infection that caused scarring on my retinas, and was told the strain on my eyes from that much studying would be too much."
Lang dropped out of pre-med for a year to allow his eyes to heal, and returned to SMU to obtain a degree in business. He married Beverly Bohmfalk, daughter of Dr. Erwin Bohmfalk, and started a family.

"I went to work at Ennis Tag Company as assistant business manager," Lang said. "They made cotton bale tags, and also made business forms. I worked almost a year, then went back to Dr. Scanlon for an eye exam. She asked if I thought about going back to school, and said the scarring was almost healed in my eyes.

"I decided to go back to school -- and resigned from Ennis Tag the next day."

Lang also decided he would have more time to devote to his growing family in dentistry than in medicine, so he got into dental school. After four years of dental school, plus a year of post-graduate work, Lang stumbled back into Corsicana in June 1955.

Dr. Louis Gibson had invited Lang to practice at Medical Arts Clinic, but said they didn't have room for him right away. While waiting for his office to be built, Lang did anesthesia at Parkland Hospital, then at Baylor Hospital.

His career at Medical Arts Clinic spanned 22 years, at which point he partnered with Dr. Joe Highnote and constructed the 500 Place building on 3rd Avenue. They are still officed there, along with Dr. John Smith, who will take over Lang's patients.

Nikki McCluney has worked with Dr. Lang for 22 years, and will continue part-time with his patients after his retirement.

"He's the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet," McCluney said. "He has never said an unkind work to me."

"She can read his mind now," said Susan of Nikki.

Lang has served his church and his community along the way, serving with United Way, on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, board of Family Service, the board of the Anglican School of Theology, and the board of the Episcopal Medical Mission Foundation.

"I've been to the Dominican Republic a couple of times doing mission work," he said.

Lang is also past president of the 6th District Dental Society, is a past member of the Academy of General Dentistry, and a senior warden and vestry at St. John's Episcopal Church.

"Family Service is close to my heart because it was started by my cousin, Adeline Watt, and her neighbor, Augusta Helms," Lang said. "One hundred years ago."

Lang's plans for retirement include service, recreation and family time.

"I intend to do a lot more with Family Service than I've been able to do," Lang said. "I plan to do a lot of fishing -- we have a place at Richland Chambers Lake. We're taking a family cruise to Alaska soon for two weeks. And I have a golf group I play with twice a week -- will probably add a time or two a week to that."

The Langs enjoyed sailing quite a bit, as well, owning a sailboat named "BeSu" -- named after the two special ladies in Dr. Lang's life.

Dr. and Mrs. Robert A. Lang are parents to David, their oldest son, who resides in Houston. Daughter Susan is married to Chuck McClanahan, Precinct 4 City Council Member and parents of Leslie and Christopher. Youngest son John and wife, Connie are parents to Chasidy, Chanda, Alicia, Jonathon, and Timothy and David, who are twins.

"He has always been a very laid back, easygoing, devout Christian," Susan said. "He whistled while he worked. He is a man of great faith."

"And he is a great granddad," Leslie said.

Dr. Lang has treated many, many patients over the last 50 years, all of whom he considers "famous."

"I do have mixed feelings ... I enjoy working," he said. "I enjoy people -- I enjoy all my patients."


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