Mr. Nathan Langer, founder and president of Langer Juice Co., died Wednesday following complications from a stroke.
Mr. Langer founded Langer Juice Co. in 1960 and co-founded Unadulterated Foods (later known as Snapple) in 1973. He also was a Holocaust survivor.
Mr. Langer, a native of Krakow, Poland, grew up in a family of wine makers, where he learned the craft of making high-quality and pure beverages at Arade Winery, the family winery. Following the Nazi occupation of Poland in 1939, Arade was confiscated, and Mr. Langer and his parents and sister were taken to concentration camps. Mr. Langer and his father were sent to Skarzysko-Kamienna forced labor camp; he did not leave as long as his father was there; he escaped once that he saw his father had no longer survived.
Mr. Langer also survived the Nazi bombing of his aunt’s apartment building in Warsaw where he, his sister and aunt were in hiding. He was able to dig out and save his aunt, but he could not save his sister. Mr. Langer was his immediate family’s only survivor.
In 1945, Mr. Langer went to the American Sector of Berlin to emigrate to the U.S. He arrived in the U.S. in 1949. While in Berlin, he met his wife of 60 years, Mira, also a Holocaust survivor, who preceded him in death.
Mr. Langer founded Langer Juice Co. with the aspiration of making juice with the care and purity he learned at the family winery. He created juices that were made with locally grown fruit and without preservatives or other additives, and the company grew from a local, Southern California brand in health food stores to a national brand that is one of the largest, family-owned juice companies. In 1973, Mr. Langer and three partners founded another company, Unadulterated Foods, based on the same principles of quality and purity, the predecessor of the Snapple brand.
Mr. Langer frequently told his children and grandchildren that his story was the personification of the American Dream and proved that an immigrant who came to the U.S. without speaking English and without financial resources has the opportunity to build a business, raise a family, educate his children and start a new life in America, where he proudly became a U.S. citizen.
Mr. Langer is survived by three sons, Dennis Langer, M.D., a former pharmaceutical executive and co-founder/director of several bio-pharmaceutical companies; David and Bruce Langer, co-VPs of Langer Juice Co.; daughters-in-law, Susan Langer, M.D., Melissa and Stefani; and seven grandchildren and a great-grandson.
Funeral services for Mr. Langer will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7, at Harbor Lawn-Mt. Olive Memorial Park & Mortuary, 1625 Gisler Avenue, in Costa Mesa, California.
A meal of consolation will follow at 5 p.m. at Mimi’s Cafe, 1835 F. Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa.