Walter M. Lankford
Walter M. Lankford, age 89, of Knoxville, passed away Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at the Hospice Comfort House of Pella.
Walter was born at home in Lucas County, during a snow storm, on March 6, 1924, the child of Frank and Sally Florence (West) Lankford. Walter was raised in rural Lucas County until he enlisted in the United States Navy at age 17. Walter served from 1941-45, during WWII. He served as an airplane mechanic on the Kalinin Bay Aircraft Carrier and participated in the Leyete Gulf Battle.
After his service in the Navy, Walter returned home and in 1947 Walter and Coleen Alley were united in marriage. Walter and Coleen were blessed with two children, Jerry and Renae. They later divorced.
On Nov. 1, 1969, in Princeton, Mo., Walter and Karen Raye Dye were married. They shared their home with Karen’s children Dale, Steven and Sherry, and in 1970, Walter and Karen were blessed with one child, Deb. Walter and Karen shared 43 years of marriage before Walter’s passing.a
Walter enjoyed working all his life. Walter worked for 30 years with the VA Hospital in Knoxville as a nurse’s assistant and always had a second job. He worked around Knoxville doing carpentry work, plumbing work, roofing, and worked in tire service at the Knoxville Firestone and Goodyear stores. After his retirement from the VA Hospital, Walter began his own plumbing and heating and cooling business.
Walter owned and operated his business for several years in the Knoxville area. Walter also enjoyed spending time with his family. When their children were younger they would go fishing, hunting, mushroom hunting and cook outs after his retirement. Walter was also a member of the Pleasantville American Legion, Post #108.
Walter is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karen; their children, Jerry (Meredith) Lankford of Gardner, Ill., Renae Lankford of Nevada, Mo., Dale Sharp of Knoxville, Steven Sharp of Knoxville, Sherry (Millard) Gist of Knoxville, and Deb (Ed) Cross of Knoxville. Walter is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 15 great great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Florence; three sisters, Gladys Richards, Ellen Lampkin and Elsie Louwsma; and two brothers, John and Robert Lankford.