The Pleasanton community is mourning the loss of longtime police department volunteer and local author Annette Langer, who died in her home unexpectedly on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, according to her family. She was 75.
Pleasanton Police Chief David Spiller confirmed the news in a heartfelt post on the department's Facebook page that lauded Langer as "a beloved member, a dear friend and the kindest soul anyone could want to know."
"Annette was a kind soul with a servant's heart, she was a giver and friend to everyone," Spiller said. "Annette will long be remembered for her quick wit, her many stories and her sense of humor that served to make others in her company so happy."
A recognizable, friendly face representing Pleasanton PD, Langer had recently been cited for logging more than 8,000 volunteer service hours for the department during her 14-year tenure.
Her sense of humor was on display in books she published during her retirement years: "Healing through Humor: Change Your Focus, Change Your Life!" and "A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the World: Diary of a Fearless Travel Agent."
"I just wanted to write something that would help others," Langer told the Weekly in 2017 during a profile interview.
At that time, Langer had just seen another of her short stories picked by the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" franchise.
Her fourth contribution to the best-selling book series, Langer's 2017 anecdote for "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Acts of Kindness" highlighted her experience renting a room to a recently hired Pleasanton police officer whose family still lived out of the area.
"Out of the Blue, a Family" related offering the officer a place to stay until he and his family found a new home, resulting in Langer forming a bond with the family and becoming the children's grandmother No. 3, whom they dubbed "GrAnnette."
Langer moved to Pleasanton later in life, in 1998, at the urging of cousins in this area who knew she was looking for a respite from cold Chicago winters.
She had worked a range of assignments in the federal government during a 26-year career, and after an early retirement from the government, she returned to school to become a travel agent -- a position that she held for years and that inspired many of her humorous writings.
After relocating to Pleasanton as a senior, Langer became active in the local authors' scene, including as a member of the California Writers Club.
She said she was motivated to support Pleasanton PD after completing the department's Citizens' Academy program in 2004, which led her to signing up as volunteer. Her assignments over the years included helping to track burglar alarms, working in the investigations unit with juvenile crimes, and in the property and evidence room.
"Annette tirelessly served our organization and our community for over 14 years," Spiller said. "Our hearts are with Annette's family at this sad time, and we hold them in our thoughts and prayers."
A memorial mass for Langer will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at St. Augustine Catholic Church at 3999 Bernal Ave. in Pleasanton. Her family said donations in her honor can be to the American Cancer Society.