NORMAN — June Carroll (J. C.) Lankford, 96, passed away April 25, 2013. He was born June 19, 1916, on the Lankford family farm 8 miles southwest of Adrian, Bates County, Mo. He was the third son of David Lyon (Budge) and Leah Hudelson Lankford.
Memorial services for J.C. will be 11 a.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church, 555 South University in Norman.
J.C. worked on the family farm after school and summers through elementary and high school, graduating from Adrian High School in May 1933 in a class of twenty-eight (No. 1 academically) and gave the valedictory address at graduation. He represented his school on the debate team for two years and won second place in State for original oratory.
To begin his working career, he taught two years in rural Bates County, Missouri elementary schools (Altona and Mingo 1935-36). After two years as a postal clerk, on August 3, 1939, he was nominated by U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman, commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as postmaster of his home town Adrian, Missouri.
On Feb. 3, 1943, J.C. volunteered and was inducted into the U.S. Army. He served with the Fifth Army Base Post Office in North Africa and Italy for two years. After returning to the U.S. in 1945, he was stationed at Fort Jefferson Barracks (St. Louis, Mo.) and enrolled in night classes at St. Louis University. In 1948, he took the examination for Postal Inspector and was appointed August 15, 1949.
J.C. had an exciting and challenging career in investigating and assisting in the prosecution of Postal Law violators and in protecting the sanctity of privacy in the handling of the U.S. Mails. Whether it was the burglary of a one-room mountain post office in Eastern Kentucky or the shoot-out with an armed robber at Stapleton airport in Denver, he never gave up his pursuit of the offenders.
During J.C.’s 35 year career as a postal inspector he held assignments as:
Field Inspector, 5 counties in Eastern Kentucky with domicile at Pikeville;
Field Inspector, 15 counties in Northwest Oklahoma, domicile at
Enid; all postal crimes in Oklahoma City; major mail fraud cases in entire state of Oklahoma( 3 judicial Districts; develop and teach a course in investigation of mail frauds at Career Development Center in Bethesda, Md.; Assistant Inspector in Charge, and Training Councilor, Kansas City;
Inspector in Charge Kansas City Division, consisting of states of
Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma.
After 35 years of federal service, J.C. retired to enjoy many years of worldwide travel and golf with the love of his life of 75 years, Leeta Fern.
J.C. is preceded in death by his daughter, Rita Carroll who was born on Dec. 23, 1941 and died on Dec. 28, 1941.
J.C. is survived by his wife, Leeta; son, E. Joe Lankford of Norman; daughter, Rebecca Ann Lankford of Tulsa; four grandchildren, Robert B. Stegge of Austin, Texas, Stephanie Kern of Tulsa, Julie Lankford Yousey and Jennifer Lankford Beaty of Oklahoma City; and four great-grandchildren, Mason and Max Beaty of Oklahoma City, Jackson Carroll and Stella Grace Kern of Tulsa.
Arrangements for J.C. and his family were placed in the care of the Vice family at the Havenbrook Funeral Home in Norman. Condolences may be shared at havenbrookfuneralhome.com