Gordon R. Sr.
Gordon R. Lanker Sr., 98, of south Toledo, passed away Friday, September 20, 2013 at 3:00 a.m. He was born in 1915 to Rolla and Flo (Smith) Lanker. Gordon grew up in Grand Rapids, Ohio, graduated from Grand Rapids High School and attended the University of Toledo. In 1939, he married Vivian Reichart, and they enjoyed 62 happy and loving years together. She preceded him in 2002.
A career postal employee, he started to work in the Toledo Post Office in 1937. Shortly after the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor he applied for pilot training and flew B-25, B-24, B-17 and P-38 type
aircraft in Alaska, China-Burma-India, North Africa, England and Italy. He
remained in the Air Force Reserve after the war flying mainly heavy transports. He also held a commercial pilots certificate and multi-engine instructor, S rating. He
retired from the reserve with the rank of Lt. Colonel. After the war he returned to the Toledo Post Office and was soon promoted to the position of Postal Inspector in charge of a territory containing over 100 post offices in North
In 1957 he was appointed acting Postmaster at Toledo and served in that capacity until 1961. In the interim he was named permanent Postmaster on three successive years by then President Eisenhower, but senate confirmation was repeatedly blocked by Democrat senator Stephen Young. He then assumed the position of General Superintendent of Mails and retired as Director of Operations.
He was a member of Triad Lodge F & AM, the Scottish Rite and Zenobia Shrine. A past President of the Shrine Band, he played trumpet and flugelhorn in the band, the Deutschmeister German Band and played in various other musical organizations. He was the official bugler for the Lucas County Veteran's burial corps and was frequently called upon to sound taps for fellow veteran's
services. He was a member of Toledo Post American
Legion, the Retired Officer's Association and the Friends of The Air Force Museum.
Following retirement in 1973 Gordon and Vivian traveled extensively, visiting Europe, Great Britain and The Orient. They drove to every state in the union and visited Alaska and Hawaii and toured Mexico and the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Vancouver Island. They also enjoyed playing bridge, boating, water skiing, camping, fishing and gardening.
Gordon is survived by sons, Gordon Jr. (Joan), Terry (Trish), and Craig (Sandra); nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at the
Walter Funeral Home, 4653 Glendale Ave. on Friday, September 27, 2013, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. with Masonic services at 7:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, 2013, at the funeral home. Interment will follow in Toledo Memorial Park.
You will be sorely missed, but the lessons of life,
wisdom and knowledge you bestowed on us will always be with us. You always led by example, and what a great example you were!
We love you,
Your sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family requests that any contributions be made to the Shrine Children's Hospitals or Senior Independent Hospice, 5810 Southwyck Blvd., Suite 101, Toledo, OH 43614.
Walter Funeral Home - Toledo
4653 Glendale Avenue
Toledo, OH 43614
Published in Toledo Blade on Sept. 22, 2013