On Saturday June 22nd, 2019, Jon Paul (“Buddy”) Langhout, Henderson NV., formerly Bemidji MN., loving husband and father of three children passed away at the age of 79.
A visitation at Olson Schwartz Funeral Home will take place Sunday June 30th, 2019 from 4:00-7:00 pm with funeral services to be held Monday July 1st, 2019 at the First Presbyterian Church, 501 Minnesota Ave NW, Bemidji MN at 11:00 am. with visitation one hour before the service at the church. Interment will be in Greenwood Cemetery, Bemidji.
Jon Paul (“Buddy”) Langhout’s montage of passions, both personal and professional, measured over 7 decades. His dynamic personality left a mark on everyone he touched through travel, industry, technology, and above all, his remarkable ability to tell great stories.
He was a pioneer in the fields of radio, broadcast television, TV translators, cable television, satellite communication, fiber optics and digital technology. His life and career were devoted to delivering telecommunications services to areas less served and he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
Buddy was born April 16, 1940 in St. Paul, MN. His father Elmer James was 29, his mother Sylvia (Sally) Angeline was 24, his sister Carol Jean was four and brother David aged one. In 1945 Elmer moved the family from Lindy Street in Roseville to the northern area of Bemidji in the hopes of furthering his radio career, but he really moved his family north to pursue his zest for hunting and fishing.
As a young boy Buddy contracted Rheumatic Fever four years in a row. Confined to a bed, he busied himself by learning to solder radio components for his Dad. The work became a passion for him and by the time he was eight Buddy was a fixture at Elmer’s radio shop, Midwest Radio Engineers and often repairing radios while astonished customers looked on. And it was a special badge of honor that he used his business experience to teach his entire 4th grade class at Central Elementary how to count change.
Throughout High School Buddy continued his radio apprenticeship with his Dad, and also began delivering Hotpoint appliances and installing TV antennas all over the Bemidji area. Upon graduation in 1959 he began working for BJ Klindworth at K&M Electronics, building and maintaining TV translators throughout northern Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Over a 9-year period he drove a million miles and needed to replace his company car each year. The work he and his colleagues performed on the Translator towers was often executed at death defying heights and after a number of close calls he transitioned back to the family business.
On September 11th 1962 Buddy met the love of his life, Ada Masterson at her 18th birthday party. They were married in Cass Lake November 9th, 1962 and began one of the world’s greatest fairy tale romances. For 57 years, side by side, through long days of work, joyful travels around the world and countless sunsets, Buddy and Ada were, and continue to be, the model every couple would love to be. Buddy and Ada raised three children, Jon Paul (born 1964), Cindy Louise (born 1967) and Thomas James (born 1971) and spending all their formative years in Bemidji.
As the 1960’s were waning, Elmer and Buddy began the revolutionary process of engineering and building the first 21-channel cable TV system in Minnesota. The state-of-the-art system was up and running by 1971. The first customer, Estel Snapp, the locksmith on Third Street, was connected by wire in January. By the late 1970’s the Industry and the newly formed Midwest Cable Communications, Inc. began to flourish. Wife Ada, sons Jon and Tom all began working at Midwest Cable and it truly became a family business.
In addition to cable TV, Buddy introduced to Bemidji Set-top boxes, extra cable outlets, commercial free box office movies. He experienced government regulation, politics and franchise fees. He oversaw system expansion, an explosion of new cable channels and the advent of a brand-new information age. Bemidji was one of the first systems in the state to enjoy the benefits of fiber optics; while a digital “head-end” in the sky brought digital services to town and the ground work was put in place for broadband.
Buddy’s work in his industry brought him to every corner of the nation and earned him several awards from trade associations; including recognition for 25 years of service to the Minnesota Cable Communications Association Board of Directors and the 1986 Distinguished Service Award and most importantly the highest respect among his peers.
“The cable industry was a perfect fit for him. It was young, growing and always changing technologically.
“At all the cable shows he would be talking to the engineers learning AND teaching”
“He was always willing to share his knowledge of electronics with other operators, sometimes designing and building the electronics on his own and some of the equipment he created is still in use today”
As the 1990’s came to a close, Buddy and Ada made the decision to sell their pride and joy and entered in to an agreement with fellow cable pioneer Bill Bresnan of Bresnan Communications. In the midst of the sale of Midwest Cable to Bresnan Communications, Bill’s operations were purchased by Charter Communications, who closed the pending deal and made the Bemidji system part of their national network. Several years later, Midcontinent Communications purchased the Bemidji cable plant and transitioned it to their network of systems and this is how it remains today.
Buddy and Ada’s last official day of work was March 2, 2000. Upon retirement they purchased a home in Henderson NV and have used it as their base for travel, relaxing and hosting friends and family. True to form they continued exploring all the corners of our great nation, either by Amtrak sleeper or behind the wheel of their legendary 1996 Buick Roadmaster.
Anybody who ever met Buddy knew of his love for all things mechanical, especially cars; and he loved to give tours of his classic car collection. He is remembered fondly by all for his sparkly eyes, his mischievous personality and his infectious laugh. Buddy was easy to find in a crowd, one just followed the laughter.
Buddy is survived by wife Ada; son Jon (Suzy) Langhout; daughter Cindy (John) Melbye; son Tom (Cassie) Langhout; grandsons Kyle (Nichole) Langhout and Gavin (Ali Long) Langhout granddaughters Tia (Ryan Kurtz) Langhout, Jaisa (Brett Schussman) Langhout and Tyra (Micaiah) Graham; brother David (Alida “Penny”) Langhout; sister Carol (Bob) Rude; and countless nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his mother Sylvia “Sally” (1971) and his father Elmer (1974).
In lieu of flowers the family prefers memorials to St. Rose Dignity Hospital of Henderson NV. www.supportstrose.org, St. Rose Dominican Health Foundation, 3001 St. Rose Parkway, Henderson, NV 89052.
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