John Dwight Lang, 89, led '28 Olympic lacrosse team

September 02, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

John Dwight Lang, a first-team All-America midfielder who was captain of the 1928 U.S. Olympic lacrosse team, died Aug. 20 of complications of Alzheimer's disease at Charlestown Retirement Community. The former Catonsville resident was 89.

Mr. Lang, who grew up in South Baltimore and was known as Jack, was identified in a 1920s newspaper photograph as the "Jack of All Sports."

He played basketball, football, soccer and lacrosse. He swam for Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated in 1925, and played tennis.

At the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1929, he was a halfback on the football team, captain of the basketball team and a midfielder in lacrosse. He also played soccer for the Canton Club.

The Hopkins Blue Jays represented the United States in the Olympics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At that time, lacrosse was an exhibition sport.

During the Olympics, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, president of the American Olympic Committee, became angry with Mr. Lang, who retaliated after a Canadian attackman rushed in at each faceoff and hit him over the head.

A teammate, defenseman Rob Roy, remembered the incident years later and said, "General MacArthur should have been mad at me because I had cut the guy over the eye."

Before a crowd of 40,000, the U.S. team opposed the Canadian champion New Westminster and the British champion North of England. The outcome of the games was not conclusive.

The Algemeen Handelsblad, an Amsterdam newspaper, called lacrosse "a stimulating, interesting and very lively game."

Mr. Lang was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1973.

He retired in 1969 after 35 years as district sales manager for Union Metal Co. in Baltimore.

He was a 32nd-degree member of the Palestine Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland and the Shrine Temple.

For more than 60 years, he sailed the Lang Syne, his sailboat, on the Chesapeake Bay. He was a member of the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake and the Rolling Road Country Club and a founder of the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club in Florida.

In 1930, he married Margaret Gressitt, who died in 1984.

He was a member of Hope Presbyterian Church, 4748 Shelbourne Road, Arbutus, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

He is survived by two daughters, Nancy L. Brown of Pasadena and Susan Yohn of Grantville, Pa; two brothers, Millard Lang of Lutherville and Calvin Lang of Blackstone, Va.; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/02/96

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