LA CROSSE, WIS — A La Crosse man has now entered a phase of resigned acceptance after realizing his longest lasting legacy will probably be some tangentially related family member using him for their kid’s middle name.
Harvey Langdonberger turned 89 in early 2020 and is currently battling lung cancer. Over his lifetime he served in two wars, worked for decades as a news photojournalist and now has four children, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild on the way.
“I have lived an incredible life,” Langdonberger said. “I’ve met presidents, seen war zones… but I’m pretty sure when I die, the only time my name is going to come up is when my great-grandchild gets in trouble.”
In a candid interview, Langdonberger expressed wishes to be remembered for a rescue operation saving several Army service members during the Korean War, or for daring photos he took during the Iran Hostage Crisis.
“I looked the Ayatollah Khomeini in the face,” Langdonberger huffed, “and yet most of the time my name will be mentioned, it will be in sentences like, ‘David Harvey Langdonberger! We do NOT pee on the cat in this house! Naughty!’”
What gives him hope, Langdonberger said, is that he could at least be the subject of a shoddily researched essay for a high school history class someday.
“There’s more than enough material for an A grade, but managing expectations, I just hope it at least gets a B minus,” he said.
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.