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Virgil K. Lange

POSTED: February 27, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Virgil Kenneth Lange, 90, of Ellsworth, Kan., passed away Thursday, Feb. 20 at Salina Regional Health Center.  
Virgil was born July 17, 1923, in Ellsworth County to  Herman and Christina (Bruning) Lange. A lifelong resident of Ellsworth County, Virgil was raised on the family farm and attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School.
He was a member of the 66th Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Black Panther Division”, serving in the Northern France Campaign in World War II. While Virgil was aboard the SS Cheshire in the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944, the Cheshire’s sister ship, the SS Leopoldville, was torpedoed and sunk by U-486. This resulted in the loss of 783 U.S. troops, and altered the 66th Division’s operational numbers, delaying but not excluding their participation in the Battle of the Bulge.
Virgil returned to Ellsworth after the war. Bringing and maintaining electricity to the farm homes in the area where he grew up; he enjoyed many years as a lineman with Smoky Hills Electric Cooperative.  
Virgil married the love of his life, Thelma Laverne Droegemeier, on June 21, 1947.  They were members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ellsworth. Together, they lovingly raised their two sons, and later enjoyed traveling, overseeing his portion of his parents’ farm, and spending time with their grandchildren. Virgil and Thelma enjoyed  62 years of marriage until Thelma passed away in April of 2010.   
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Thelma; brother Alvin; and sister Danellda. 
Survivors include two sons, Wesley E. Lange, San Pedro, Calif., and Michael D. Lange, Lawrence, Kan.; three grandchildren, Jack and Jared Lange, Lawrence, and Shauna Morain,  San Pedro.
According to his wishes, no funeral services are planned at this time.  Inurnment will be conducted privately at a later date.
Memorial contributions in Virgil’s name are suggested to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Ellsworth.
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