John Lankenau
Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Memorial Service

2:00 pm
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Chapel Of The Holy Innocents
1387 Annandale Rd
Annandale, New York, United States

Obituary of John C Lankenau

John C. Lankenau, age 90, devoted and beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend, died at his home in Tivoli, New York on August 16.

He was born in the front room of his family's farmhouse in Germantown, New York to Lillie and Walter Lankenau and graduated from Germantown Central School as Valedictorian in a class of thirteen in 1945. He went to Cornell University on the G.I. bill having served in the Navy for two years. He graduated in 1952 from the College of Electrical Engineering where he served as President of the Student Council and then in 1955 from Cornell University Law School where he was a resident of the Telluride Association. That year he became an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District where he served for five years, part of which time he led the Narcotics Division. He was a volunteer lawyer in Mississippi with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law during the summer of 1964. In 1965, he formed the law firm of Koch, Lankenau and Kovner, the predecessor firm of the New York office of Davis, Wright, Tremaine. He was Ed Koch's campaign manager in the 1968 Congressional Campaign. When Ed Koch became New York City Mayor, he appointed Mr. Lankenau Chairman of the Cultural Affairs Commission, member of the Theater Advisory Commission and a member of the initial Javits Convention Center Board. During his career, he represented publishing clients including Harper & Row, St. Martin's Press, and the New York Times. He later represented the Episcopal Church and litigated WARN Act class actions. He also sponsored affordable housing projects in the Bronx and Brooklyn and Albany in his partnership with Proto Properties. He was on the founding board and President of Musica Sacra in New York City, on the board of Friends of Clermont, Historic Site in Germantown, NY., a board member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Barrytown, New York, and a supporter of the Bard Prison Initiative.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alison Lanckton Lankenau, his daughters, Catherine (Christopher Weeks), Amy (Aaron McPherson), and Christine (Matthew Kurlander) and grandchildren, Fernanda and Wendy Weeks, Henry, Alison and Caleb McPherson, and Jack and Daphne Kurlander along with many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his siblings, Dorothy Johnson, Walter Lankenau and Edith Moore and a grandson, Walter James Kurlander.

Memorial service will be held at02:00 PM on Saturday, August 25th, 2018 at Chapel Of The Holy Innocents on Bard College Campus, Annandale, NY. The Rev. Richard R. McKeon Jr. will officiate. Interment will be private.

Memorial donations may be made in John's memory to The Bard Prison Initiative - Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, 12504 or to Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, 888-414-7752.

Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY.

For directions, or to sign the online guest book, please visit

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