FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to a popular Henley man who was found dead at his town centre home last week.
Jonathan Lang, 39, was found at his flat in Ancastle Green last Wednesday. Police were called at 6.35pm and found him. He had last been seen alive the previous Sunday. The cause of his death is not yet known.
An inquest has been opened and adjourned. A post mortem examination has been carried out but results have not yet been made public.
Mr Lang, a businessman who owned KIGI Joinery in Haileywood Farm, Shiplake, left behind a 20-year-old daughter, Rebekah, who serves in the signals corps of the armed forces.
He also had two brothers, Andrew and Mark, who also live in the Henley area.
Nicknamed “Mr Henley”, he was a well-known figure around town, and was well-loved by many as a fun-loving and generous friend who loved fast cars and motor boats.
Laurence Wilson, owner of Magoos bar in Hart Street, Henley, said: “All who knew Jon have been deeply saddened by him leaving us so abruptly.
“We were all blessed in the first place to have known a man like him. Men like Jon are very special — a rare breed sent here to teach those he touched a lesson. For me that lesson was to be less afraid to enjoy life.”
Mr Lang owned a speed boat, Cornucopia, moored near Hobb’s landing stage in Henley. This week, the deck was festooned in floral tributes.
He also had a passion for fast cars and motor bikes, and drove a Porsche 911 turbo.
Although he had run his carpentry business for some years, specialising in making custom-built wooden staircases for building trade customers, he loved foreign travel and often went on trips to Thailand and Ibiza.
He often visited Thailand to celebrate New Year’s Eve and he had planned to return there in October with his brother, Mark, to train as a diving instructor.
As friends and family reeled at the news this week of his sudden and unexpected death, people paid tribute to his love of life.
Jamie Bruce, 34, a singer of Reading Road, Henley, said Mr Lang had offered “massive support” to musicians in the town.
“Jon was incredibly encouraging to myself and was a general lover of music with an eclectic record collection.
“If you asked him to come to a gig he would be there and drag loads of people with him. He had such a strong personality that if he said he was going somewhere, people would go with him.”
“For that he will be really missed by musicians in Henley.”
Mr Bruce, who knew him for about 14 years from socialising in the town, said: “When I was a bouncer and it was 12am and minus two degrees, Jon was the only person who could make me smile.
“He would literally just walk up the street and start laughing at me and it would work.
“He had an infectious smile and chuckle. I’ll always remember the times on his boat playing every different type of music and singing badly to it. That’s my lasting memory of him.”
Another friend, Mike Jiggens, 41, a roofer of Shiplake, said Mr Lang was “a man who loved to live life to the full and was always up for an adventure”.
Mr Jiggens, who knew him for six years, said: “Jon loved socialising and enjoyed spending time with his friends and family. He was loved by all.
“He was a skilled craftsman and took pride in his work. He had a successful joinery company that provided fine crafted staircases to local building companies.
“We used to go out together with our daughters Hannah and Rebekah and had lots of laughs and good times together. Jon had a fondness for my daughter Hannah and her for him — she will miss him greatly.”
He added: “It is so sad that Jon left us so suddenly and even harder to understand why.”
Ben Hargreaves, 32, a designer also of Reading Road, said he will remember Mr Lang by recounting a particular anecdote.
“When my parents were here my mum was looking out the upstairs window and he drove past.
“My mum said to me ‘Who’s that lovely chap driving the sports car? He just looked up at me and apologised for having a noisy engine’.
“I told her that was Jon and said that summed him up. He would go out of his way to look after people.
“We spent the next hour talking about him and my parents loved him from the stories I told about him.
“My mum was sad when I told her he had died. He even had an impact on people he didn’t know.”
Mollie Marriott, 27, of Queen Street, Henley, said: “He was my big brother and always there for me for the last 10 years.
“He is irreplaceable and Henley will now suffer a huge loss with him gone. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed a drink at Magoos.”
Loz Scott said: “Jon brought so many people together under his wing and gave them joy and reminded them to enjoy life.”
Simon Hogg, 44, who owns SLH Construction in the farm, said he was a “lovely” man.
“He would do anything for you and help you out,” said Mr Hogg, of Woodlands Road, Henley.
“We would go out for a drink every now and again so I knew him reasonably well. My business is similar to his so he would recommend me for jobs and if I got it then I would get him to supply the staircases, which was his specialism.”
A tribute page has been set up on Facebook and has more than 350 members with dozens of messages, photos and videos uploaded to remember Mr Lang.
Gary Boys, of River Terrace, who owns GB Consultancy in Station Road, said Mr Lang was “quite frankly one of the greatest, most inspiring people I have ever had the pleasure to cross paths with. He was the guy that would turn up to an event that I would always think ‘thank God you’re here, things are now going to be great.’”
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Thames Valley Police is investigating the unexplained death of a 39-year-old man who was found at a property in Ancastle Green, Henley, on September 19.
“His death is not being treated as suspicious and a report is being compiled for the coroner.”