John Joseph LANK
November 16, 1927 – March 31, 2019
John Joseph LANK, age 91, of Fairfax, Virginia, passed away on Sunday March 31, 2019 at his home a in the presence of loving family and caregivers. John was born to Stanley and Mary (Ritz) Lank on November 16, 1927 in Fall River, Massachusetts. As an infant he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he attended St. Stanislaus Grammar and High School. He obtained his Bachelors degree from the University of Detroit, where he was on the fencing team. Before attending college, he served honorably as a medic in the U.S. Army as part of the occupying forces in Italy. On July 4, 1955, he married the love of his life, Elfriede L. ("Fritzee") Beinhorn, with whom he waltzed through life (the waltz being their favorite dance) until her death in August 1994.
John lived in a variety of places before joining the U.S. Department of Education and settling in Vienna, Virginia in 1975. After working for Proctor and Gamble as a salesman in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he and Fritzee moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he attended the University of Michigan and obtained his Masters degree. While living in Ann Arbor, John and Fritzee rented the former home of Harry Bennett, the head of Henry Ford's infamous "goon squad," and were intrigued to uncover escape tunnels and other relics of a truly hated man. After obtaining his Masters degree, John taught Political Science at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Gettysburg College, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He was excited to use that experience in the development of education policy at the U.S. Department of Education, from which he retired. Following retirement he moved to the Heritage Hunt community in Gainesville, Virginia where he enjoyed living in what he described as the best house he had ever lived in.
John loved good music, great food, and beautiful art, and he enjoyed sharing his passions with others. While at the Department of Education, he often would spend his lunch hour contemplating a piece of art in the National Gallery. As a teenager, he played the cornet in his own polka band and was proud to have been asked to play the hejnal trumpet call (https://culture.pl/en/article/the-hejnal-trumpet-call-of-krakow-fact-vs-fiction ) from the tower of St. Stanislaus. Blessed with a beautiful voice, he loved to sing and even tried---unsuccessfully, not surprisingly---to orchestrate sing-alongs on the commuter bus in his early days in Washington. John also enjoyed athletics, whether it be swimming, sailing, playing tennis, or just walking.
John loved his family and was a devoted uncle and brother, as well as a loving husband. He was present for all important family milestones, and when the nieces and nephews were adults with children of their own, joined the family for vacation reunions. John was predeceased by his parents, Fritzee, his brother Stanley E. Lank, and his great-nephew, Jacob Lank. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Suzanne Lank, of Chelsea, Michigan; his nieces and nephews, Suzanne Bailey (Michael) of Charlottesville, Virginia, Katherine Quinlan (Greg) of Hamburg, Michigan, Stanley Lank (Pam) of Richmond, Kentucky, John Lank (Sylvia) of Seattle, Washington, Michael Lank (JoAnn) of Livonia, Michigan, Stephen Lank (Dorothy) of Hyattsville, Maryland, Anne Marie Lank (Diane Schmidt) of Chicago, Illinois, and Sarah Baumann (Joseph) of Park Ridge, Illinois, as well as 20 great-nieces and -nephews, who stood in awe of his ability to consume multiple desserts. The family is grateful to the wonderful staff at Sunrise of Fair Oaks Assisted Living Community, who provided stimulating surroundings for John's last two years, as well as to his loving private duty nurses from OptimumCare Home Care Services, who provided care and companionship, especially Roselyn Fredua-Agyemang.
A private burial service will be held in June at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan. To remember him, raise a glass of champagne, listen to your favorite piece of music, or just tell a corny joke.