I had met Tom and Janine Langan back in the 1990s, when I was a staunch evangelical and small-b Baptist. I met them through constitutional lawyer Iain Benson who was then executive director of the Centre for Cultural Renewal, now part of Cardus. I remember sitting in their living room or back garden, drinking Dubonnet on ice with a slice of lemon and having wide-ranging conversations about all sorts of things, spiritual and otherwise.
Tom was tall and robust, gracious and full of Irish charm. Janine, who came from France, was every bit his match intellectually and a spiritual force in her own right. She was also a fabulous cook and dinners in the Langan household were always memorable.
They became like my aunt and uncle in Toronto and I usually stayed with them in their home on Strathallen Blvd. when I visited the city. How I loved being with them.
As his health declined, his warmth and charm remained even as he became more and more frail. After one health crisis during which he nearly died, he suddenly became very thin. But I remember him saying that even while he was near death, he felt no fear.
The funeral was such a beautiful send-off to this wonderful man. I hope I can get an electronic version of the eulogy (said before the Mass started) by his niece that captured his essence and described the wonderful Catholic faith lived out so generously by Tom and his wife.
And one vintage Tom Langan quote, apparently said to Marshall McLuhan: “Stop talking when I interrupt you!”
Notice how many priests concelebrated with Msgr. Samuel Bianco, who visited Tom regularly in his final five months in a nursing home.