Press Releases

Ralph Langer, Legend and Press Club President

August 8, 2021
Hugh Aynesworth, Rena Pederson, Ralph Langer

Ralph Langer, 2012 Legend of North Texas Journalism, and club president (1984-85) has passed away.

Excerpts taken from the Dallas Morning News obituary: 

Ralph Langer, a retired editor and executive vice president of The Dallas Morning News who led the newsroom during one of the most closely watched daily newspaper wars of the 1980s and 1990s, has died.

Langer, 84, died at his home Thursday from complications that followed a broken hip, including a bacterial infection, according to Kathy Langer, his wife of 61 years.

He joined The News in 1981 as managing editor, became editor in 1983 and retired in 1998, covering two decades of some of the strongest growth for the industry and the paper. Langer and the late Burl Osborne, who was editor when Langer arrived, were at the top of a team of journalists who expanded sections, built up the newsroom staff, opened national and international bureaus, and led the newspaper to its first of nine Pulitzer Prizes.

Langer served as the Associated Press Managing Editors Association president in the early 1990s. In that role, he lobbied against Pentagon rules that limited journalists’ access to cover the Gulf War.

Langer was president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas in the 1980s and served for many years on the organization’s executive committee. He was instrumental in making it a statewide organization and worked with Decherd to secure a seed grant from the parent company of The Dallas Morning News.

After retiring from The News, Langer was asked by Southern Methodist University to help it build up its journalism department and stayed for four years. Again he succeeded in recruiting new people and worked with Decherd to secure funds from the newspaper company to build a broadcast studio and pay for an endowed chair.

Langer also wrote and self-published three novels and was more than halfway finished with a fourth book, she said. Langer was also a fan of his wife’s competitive tennis career and often spoke of her skills on the court.

Before coming to Dallas, Langer worked for the Detroit Free Press, the Dayton Journal-Herald and The Everett Herald in Washington state.

He was a native of Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Langer is survived by his wife, Kathy Langer, his daughter Tammi Starnes, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Terri Beth Langer Abbey.A memorial service will be held Aug. 20 at 1p.m. at The Yacht Club at Chandlers Landing in Rockwall. In lieu of flowers the family asked that donations be made to the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association or Susan G. Komen. DMN subscribers can read the full obituary click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *