Sylvan Stephen “Steve” Lang was born September 18, 1935, at the Nix Hospital in San Antonio, Texas to Sylvan and Mary Reinhardt Lang. He peacefully passed away August 3, 2022, in San Antonio, surrounded by loving family members.
As a lifelong resident of San Antonio, Steve attended elementary and middle schools in San Antonio before graduating high school from Texas Military Institute in San Antonio. Steve received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Steve earned his law degree from the University of Texas with distinction in trial advocacy.
Shortly thereafter, Steve joined the law firm of Lang, Cross, Ladon, Oppenheimer, and Rosenberg, which his father founded in the 1940’s. In his early years, Steve practiced trial law and later participated in a committee that was involved in the legislature adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code. Among his many clients over the years were Frost Bros. Department Stores, Straus Frank Company (the Straus family), Red Arrow Freight Lines (the Wingerter family), Eagle Lumber Company (Vaughan B. Meyer) and others too numerous to list. Steve was a member of the Texas State Bar and the American Bar Association, as well as various bar organizations dedicated to the wellness of lawyers whose profession demands much from those who serve the public.
Steve joined the United States Army Reserves, attaining the rank of Captain, and serving as head of the Draft Board in San Antonio for two years. He was proud to serve his country and was a patriot his entire life. He was active in several civic and philanthropic causes, was included in an edition of Young Americans/Who’s Who in America, and the Jewish Federation of San Antonio, and participated in trips to and in support of Israel. He was a charter member of The Plaza Club, and a longtime member of Club Giraud, The Argyle, Southwest Research (now Texas Biomedical Research Institute) and Oak Hills Country Club.
In the late 1970’s, Steve and his three children, Sylvan, Ellen, and Nathan, became interested in equestrian riding. Steve and his children rode hunter-jumper horses, and they spent many good times together traveling to and competing in various horse shows across Texas, Oklahoma, and Kentucky. Steve joined the Texas Hunter-Jumper Association and served in several officer capacities before being elected President of the Association for three terms, nearly a decade. He also served on the Association’s Board of Directors for many years before resigning his membership and being named Chairman Emeritus. He was also a member of the American Equestrian Association for many years. And yes, he spent a fair amount of time at Retama Racetrack.
Although Steve and his wife Christi traveled throughout America and the world and enjoyed many cruises, his home away from home was Lake Tahoe. From the mid-1980’s until the recent Covid Pandemic, Steve and Christi enjoyed various homes in Truckee, California, one of the most beautiful areas of the country, which they were blessed to share with family and friends. Lake Tahoe became another home for Steve and Christi; they made lifelong friends there that have spanned generations and families. Sadly, his advanced pulmonary fibrosis and the Covid Pandemic brought his Lake Tahoe “artist in residency” to end. Whether traveling the United States, cruising the world, or enduring the Pandemic at their home in Alamo Heights, Christi was Steve’s loving and caring companion.
By far, one of the highlights of Steve’s life, was his involvement as an original investor in the San Antonio Spurs. In 1973, Tom Frost invited Steve to join a group of San Antonio business leaders and professionals who brought the old Dallas Chaparral’s of the ABA to San Antonio which we now all know and love as the San Antonio Spurs. Steve loved going to the Spurs games for more than four decades, and, occasionally, traveling with the team to out of town games. Steve relished every season but especially those that culminated in the five championship seasons. Steve often said the San Antonio Spurs provided him with some of the biggest highs of his life. He deeply admired the Spurs’ leadership and the players who made a small market team an icon on the international stage. Steve remained a very proud owner/investor until 2021 when his health started to decline, at which time he and a group of other owners sold their interests to a group of investors who could carry on the storied tradition of one of the most successful sports franchises in America– the beloved San Antonio Spurs.
Steve was a charter member of the Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a division created by the State Bar of Texas, for the assistance and care of lawyers who endured challenges with alcohol and drug abuse. Steve kindly comforted many lawyers and spent considerable time counselling fellow lawyers and helping them overcome their addiction so that they could continue their service to the public and enjoy fulfilling lives.
Like his father, Sylvan, Steve loved all things related to Texas. From his early life, Steve owned several ranches spanning the Hill Country from Kerrville, to Blanco, to Medina, and he loved driving his blue Jeep around the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Preservation of wildlife, conservation of water and being a good steward of the Texas land was of utmost concern to Steve. Steve loved hunting quail, dove and deer from South Texas to the hill country, as well as fishing in a ranch pond. He passed his love of the Texas land on to his family and many friends who continue to enjoy these ranch and outdoor experiences. Although the altitude was a challenge for his breathing in the last few years, Steve and Christi loved visiting Amy and Sylvan at their hill country ranch and he loved sitting in “Steve’s deer blind” with his oxygen pump and his deer rifle.
Beyond his academic, cultural, and professional achievements, Steve was absolutely the life of the party. It was easy to find him in a crowd by listening for his loud, joyful laughter and watching for the crowd of people gathered ’round to hear his stories.’ He had a great sense of humor which complimented his sharp mind. Steve never knew a stranger. Steve loved life, people, travel, his Spurs, and his family. And people loved Steve, from every part of the country, every part of the world, every walk of life, every political party, and almost all who touched him.
Steve is predeceased by his parents (Sylvan and Mary Lang), and his first wife, Dorathy Dreeben Lang, the mother of his three children, his sister Jeanne Mathews and her husband, Irving, who was one of Steve’s closest friends, and Steve’s grandson Levi Neuman. Steve is survived by his beloved wife, Carroll Christine (Christi) Lang, his son, Sylvan Stephen Lang, Jr. and wife, Dr. Amy Lang, daughter, Ellen Elizabeth Lang, and son, Nathan Stern Lang and wife, Leah Gershon Lang. Also surviving Steve are his two step-daughters, Courtney Dibrell Graham and husband, Benjamin Houston Graham, and Morgan Dibrell Hull and husband, Nicholas Spencer Hull, as well as grandchildren, Emily Jane Lang, Alexandra Sarah Lang, Eva Jane Neuman, Isaac Stern Neuman, Remi Delilah Lang, Solomon Henry Lang, and Elizabeth Cooper Graham. Steve is also survived by Mrs. Nona Hoyer, who served as Steve’s loyal confidant and skilled legal assistant for more than four decades.
Steve suffered from debilitating pulmonary fibrosis in his last few years, especially since February 2020. Steve and his family are deeply grateful to his caregivers, Lyn and Tameka, who made his home life sweet and manageable during the pandemic and his final weeks. Steve’s family is also deeply grateful to his caring and skilled healthcare providers, Dr. Jairo Melo, Dr. Bradley Kayser, Dr. Fernando Triana, and his most trusted provider, Dr. Amy Lang.
Due to the Covid Pandemic, the family invites friends to join the service virtually on Tuesday, August 9 at 8:00am; if you are unable to join the livestream, a recording of his service can be accessed later in the day. The livestream and recording link may be found within his obituary page at www.porterloring.com.
In lieu of flowers, Steve and the family request that all donations be made to ThriveWell Cancer Foundation. www.thrivewell.org; 210-593-5949.
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Published by San Antonio Express-News on Aug. 4, 2022.