NO. 17745 • 23 January 1928 - 20 May 1999
Died in Indianapolis, IN
Interred in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN
PHILO BRENDEL LANGE was born in Dubuque, IA, the third son of Philo B. and Alice Wells Lange. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, in 1946.
Following his older brother Wells '47 to West Point, Philo made his mark on the athletic fields. His strong personality often tested the discipline of the Corps, but his persistence and grit in competition came through. In four years of playing lacrosse, he earned All‑American honors and was team captain his First Class year. He also earned a minor "A" for wrestling all four years. Football was another of his sports. Though small at 155 lbs., he participated on the "brave old Army team."
June 1950 was monumental in Philo's life, as he graduated from West Point, married Rosalie McKee and received orders to Korea. He met Rosalie through his brother Robert and his Harvard roommate Edward Dunn, who became a lifelong friend in Indianapolis. Rosalie was attending Pine Manor College at the time, and they shared life together for almost 49 years.
Philo was shipped to Korea shortly after their wedding and served in the 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division as a second lieutenant. He commanded a weapons platoon and earned a Bronze Star for "action against an armed enemy near Yangyon‑ni, Korea, on 22 Jan 1951." His citation reads, "On this date, LT Lange's company was assigned the mission of defending the town of Yangyon‑ni. When the enemy attacked with intense automatic weapons and small arms fire, LT Lange moved from position to position to direct the fire of his platoon. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he refused to take cover throughout the action." His platoon suffered severe casualties, and he carried the Bronze Star honor with a heavy heart. Philo never shared much about the Korean experience until later in life, when he reconciled the circumstances of his service in the war as a result of his Christian faith journey. He returned from Korea in 1951, was stationed at several Army posts, and he and Rosalie started their family. He was honorably discharged in April 1954 as a first lieutenant.
Rearing four children, all of whom have certain characteristics that reflect his personality, kept Philo busy with creative modes of discipline. "Reveille" awakened the household for a number of years, a memory the older sons recall fondly. All four children heard stories about the "West Point way" of doing almost everything, from table manners to punitive push‑ups. The four children returned to Indianapolis after college to live, work, and be near their parents. Philo was a grandfather to seven: six boys and one girl. His children and grandchildren were the joy of his life. Involvement in, and support of, his family’s various activities, was a priority for Philo, providing him with great pleasure.
Philo was very involved in the activities of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, where he was married and, later, served as Elder, Deacon, and tireless volunteer. He left his imprint on the "Media Ministry," where he produced and directed a weekly television show. His skills for this were largely self‑taught.
Philo’s civilian life began in the insurance business in Indianapolis, where he rose to VP of Associates Life Insurance Company before leaving in 1967 to start Lange USA, a ski boot manufacturer, with his brothers. Lange manufactured the first molded plastic ski boot, revolutionizing the ski boot industry. They expanded their product line to include skis and hockey skates. The company held 17 patents that, in the early '70s, produced the number one ski boot in the world. Today, Lange boots continue to be an international brand leader, although the brothers sold their interest in the mid‑70s. After his departure from the ski industry, he became interested in the security business and associated with Frederick T. Cretors Company, from which he later retired.
Throughout his life, Philo excelled in sports. He played tennis regularly with friends and won numerous honors at Walloon Lake Country Club, where he and his family spent summers in northern Michigan. He developed a passion early for sailing and encouraged his children to race, often crewing for them.
All the world was a stage for Philo, and he often displayed his natural abilities in amateur theatrical performances through his participation in the Dramatic Club and Players Club. He served as president of the Dramatic Club in 1979.
Philo's influence is evident not only in the physical characteristics of his offspring, but in their commitment to faith, family, and friends, and will remain as one of his many legacies. There is no doubt that these characteristics were taught to him at West Point in the motto "Duty, Honor, Country."
After a lengthy illness, Philo Brendel Lange, Jr., passed away in May 1999, at the age of 71. Philo is survived by his wife Rosalie, sons Philo B. III and Sanford M., daughters Rosalie and Brookings L. Johnson, brothers Wells and Robert, and seven grandchildren.