Artist remembered: A legacy in frames

Published 10:22 am Friday, January 6, 2012

Fred Langrock of Toeterville, Iowa, passed away Dec. 30, 2011, after an automobile accident. He was music director at Austin’s Westminster Presbyterian Church for more than five years, as well as an influential artist and instructor. -- Photo courtesy of Mason City Globe Gazette

He lived through art, music and religion, and now Frederick Langrock’s legacy will live in framed artwork, weekly duplicate bridge games and music that flows from students he taught.


Langrock, who was born July 21, 1937, in Toeterville, Iowa, to Fred D. and Myrtella (Sampson) Langrock, died in an automobile accident Dec. 30, 2011. It was hard hitting news, especially for those who were used to seeing him in front of the congregation at Westminster Presbyterian Church as its music director for the past five years. Most members didn’t find out about Langrock’s passing until they attended church on New Year’s Day.

“It was a very difficult Sunday,” said Rev. Andrew Lindahl, “For a lot of people, it was the first that they heard.”

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Westminster’s service was quite different on Sunday, as the choir retired to the pews for one service.

“We decided it would be too hard for them to sing on Sunday,” Lindahl said. “So they just sat in with the congregation while we had a member play the violin.”

The single violin doubled as Sunday’s music and a tribute to Langrock, who had taught some of Westminster’s youth how to play instruments. People said Langrock could pick up any instrument and play it.

He taught many more how to play instruments in the small Iowa towns and churches which he lived near.

Lindahl said his congregation is grateful that they got to preside over the funeral with Langrock’s hometown church, St. Peter Lutheran Church in Toeterville.

But with how influential Langrock was, it will take a lot of time for people to cope.

Lindahl, even being Reverend, knows that firsthand.

“It will be a long process of grief,” he said. “Each Sunday will be just a new day to work through it.”

And it will take more than Sundays.

“We had our first staff meeting without him this week, and that was hard to see the empty seat,” Lindahl said.

Those who appreciate music, religion and the same things as Langrock are giving back in Langrock’s honor. Four organists were scheduled to play at the funeral, which took place 10:30 a.m. today in Toeterville.

While the community is in mourning over Langrock, they will get back to normal for his sake. Dick Flisrand volunteered to be the interim choir director. And Lindahl reassured his congregation through a letter to all: “Because of Fred’s strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we can celebrate today that Fred is now with the Lord whom he loved and served. This should give us comfort in the midst of our deep sense of loss. May God continue to comfort us all in this time.”

While members may find comfort in that statement, they may also find comfort by returning to their regular, Sunday music routines — with good reason.

“He would have wanted us to continue to worship and sing” Lindahl said. “He loved music.”