Visitation for Buddy Lang will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Ingram Funeral Home. A private family service will be held Friday.
It was about 20 years ago when Charles Smith first met Herbert A. "Buddy" Lang.
The encounter was the first of several business and civic ventures the pair would enter over the years, but it was also the start of a close friendship.
"He told me — if he told me one time, he told me 100 times — he said, ‘Charlie, I love you as much as I love my own father.’ And he did. And I loved him like a son," Smith said.
Lang, 59, died Tuesday morning at his home off Castleberry Road.
The businessman owned various properties and businesses, including Lang Signs, which his family started in 1929.
But many in the community remember him best for his civic involvement.
"He was always anxious to step forward and help anybody and he was just a tremendous person for the Forsyth County community," said Forsyth County Sheriff Ted Paxton. "He just dedicated his life and his business to everything in Forsyth County.
"I’m going to miss him."
Lang was the father of two children, Kevin Lang and Valery Lang Hall, and two grandchildren.
While the community knows Lang for his charitable contributions, his family will remember him as a proud parent and grandparent.
"He was just a great person and a great dad to us," Hall said. "I show horses and we traveled all over the country together. He knew how much that meant to me, and he did everything he could to keep me showing.
"He knew how important hobbies were to us and how important that was to us becoming successful in life."
Hall said both she and her brother were inspired by their father to become active in their communities.
"Being raised in that environment … you don’t think twice about it," she said. "You do what you can for people that are in need and that are going through tough times.
"It’s a huge loss for everybody and there’s going to be a lot of people that are going to miss him."
Kevin Lang said he and his father would go fishing and golfing together. The two tried to go on a fishing trip every few years.
Despite his father’s dedication to work and the community, "I spent almost every day of my childhood with him," Kevin Lang said.
"He just did everything right," he added. "He had a way with people and everyone liked him … he was always willing to help out."
Lang and Smith co-founded the Bald Ridge Lodge, an organization which mentors, houses and supports at-risk boys ages 12 to 17.
The lodge was something Lang put his own money into, as well as his time and energy.
"He was very proud of the Bald Ridge Lodge," Kevin Lang said.
The lodge came up in conversation often with Catherine Amos, who has been active with Jesse’s House, a shelter for abused girls.
"He was real proud of that house that he remodeled," she said. "He was a very giving person … if there was any way he could help, he would."
Amos grew up in Forsyth with Lang, but the two didn’t attend school together until high school.
Though they knew each other, it wasn’t until the creation of Citizens Bank of Forsyth County when Amos and Lang formed a friendship.
Smith recalled how Lang came up with the idea after Smith was told he was "too old to serve on the board of directors" of another bank.
"Buddy heard about it and within the week he called me and he said ‘Charlie, you know the way the county’s growing, it’s about time we start a new bank here,’" Smith said. "So Buddy and myself were involved in starting Citizens Bank."
Lang’s involvement with the bank wasn’t strictly business, said Tim Perry, Citizens president and chief executive officer.
"We had a very deep friendship. He had that kind of friendship with several of our board members," Perry said.
"Buddy had a very magnetizing personality. People wanted to be around him. He was very personable, very intelligent and he was a lot of fun."
Lang was a bank customer of Perry’s 15 years before Citizens was started.
"He was an integral part of our bank’s success and he was a major contributor to this community," Perry said. "He was not only an asset to this bank, but Buddy was an asset to Cumming and Forsyth County."
Lang, who also started CraneMax Rentals, had served on the county’s parks and recreation board.
He was also one of the founders of the Rotary Club of South Forsyth in 1990, serving as the organization’s charter president.
His legacy will live on in the Bald Ridge Lodge and Rotary Club, but Amos said he’s also had an impact on individuals.
"One time I asked him if he could make a banner for a friend of mine that came back from Iraq … he made this huge banner with a big seal on it and he didn’t even know the guy … it meant a lot to his whole family," Amos said.
"Buddy did a lot of things to help people a lot of people will never know about. I can’t say enough."