Gordon B. Lankton
Worcester/Clinton - Gordon B. Lankton, Husband, Father, Plastics Entrepreneur, Museum Founder, Perpetual Collector, and Key-Holder to the Town of Clinton has passed away on March 7, 2021, just shy of 90 years of a very committed, unconventional, and illustrious life.
Even as a young boy, Gordon was a collector of everything from pennies to WWII war posters that he delivered as a boy scout - and he cherished and held onto these collections throughout his life.
At Cornell University, he had a standout career not as much for his engineering grades, but for his leadership as Student Council President, his involvement in the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and his travel to Japan for the Japanese-American Student Alliance. It was those fellow Japanese students that he later did business with long before globalization was even a concept.
Before beginning his career, Gordon served in the Army's Intelligence Department in Frankfurt, Germany for two years, followed by a 9-month motorcycle trip accompanied by his good college friend, George. The journey took him through Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and finally Japan, before he finally made it back home in Peoria, Illinois. There were lots of memorable events along the way, but in his words, the most important theme that came out of his experience was "somehow I have to focus my life on minimizing the enormous disparity of living conditions in the world - primarily the living standards of Americans vs. the 20¢ per day families in Asia;" a purpose that guided him throughout all of his adult life, along with his affinity towards people of all creeds and nations.
Gordon married his wife Janet Kilby, a fellow Cornellian, in 1958 and at the age of 30 he put a one-line ad in the newspaper looking for partner ownership in a business. Fred Kirk of Nylon Products in Clinton, MA responded in 1961 and the rest is history as Gordon eventually led the growth of Nylon Products into Nypro, Inc, a billion $ Injection Molding Plastics Company with manufacturing plants all over the world.
After retiring from Nypro, new endeavors beckoned, and in 2006 Gordon founded the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, a testament to his love of the Russian people he came to know in the 1980's and his love of the Town of Clinton, which allowed him to pursue his dreams and aspirations.
Gordon will be remembered by many in the corporate world as a customer-focused leader and an innovative thinker, however he will always remain in the hearts of his loving wife Janet and daughters; Susan, Karen and Lauren as their world-travel guide, consummate backgammon and caroms player, no pain/no gain competitor in all extracurricular sporting events and practical joker.
In addition to his immediate family Gordon leaves his sister, Janice and husband Michael Negley; sons-in-law Eduardo Rivas (Susan), Mike Schmidt (Karen), and Chuck Weisshaar (Lauren); 7 grandchildren, Lara, Kyra (Steven and great-grandson Cory) and Mark (Miceala) Schmidt; Jeffrey and Bryan Rivas; and Matt and Alicia Weisshaar; and one niece and several nephews. Gordon is predeceased by his parents J. Fletcher and Freida Lankton and his brother, Harold Lankton.
Funeral Services will be private. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Gifts can be made to The Museum of Russian Icons, 203 Union St., Clinton, MA 01510 or The Nypro Foundation, 101 Union St., Clinton, MA 01510. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Miles-Sterling Funeral and Tribute Center.www.milesfuneralhome.com
Published by Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Mar. 8 to Mar. 12, 2021.