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George A. Lankes, 95, retired FBI agent, educator Aug. 11, 1913 -- Oct. 22, 2008

George A. Lankes of Williamsville, a retired FBI agent, criminal-justice educator and one of the first permanent deacons ordained by the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo -- died Wednesday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 95.

Mr. Lankes was born and raised on Buffalo's East Side. He graduated from Sacred Heart School and St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. He received his bachelor's degree from Canisius College with honors in 1936; a master's degree from the University of Buffalo in 1940; and a Ph.D. from the University of Sarasota in 1973.

Following several entry-level jobs with the Erie County Social Welfare Department and Catholic Charities, he enrolled in the newly formed School of Social Work at UB. After receiving his degree with a major in corrections, he became a parole agent with the State School at Industry.

In 1941, he was recruited into the newly created Social Security Administration, where he worked as a field representative.

The next year, he was appointed a special agent with the FBI. He was assigned to field divisions in Savannah, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Detroit; Philadelphia; and Buffalo. He often took special assignments, including lecturing at the FBI Academy and doing a comprehensive survey at the U.S. Department of Justice. During World War II, he investigated alleged acts of sabotage, none of which proved to be foreign inspired.

In Detroit he met his wife-to-be, Alma T. Ellerbrun. They were married for 58 years when she died.

Mr. Lankes retired from the FBI in 1966, at which time Erie County Technical Institute (now Erie Community College) asked him to establish a criminal-justice program for day students. The program has become one of the largest at the college.

In 1970, he took a leave of absence to help create the Erie County Office of Criminal Justice Planning. The main goal of the office was to create Central Police Services. He returned to ECC as an administrator and retired with the title of professor emeritus.

He served as acting commissioner of Central Police Services in 1984 and 1986.

Mr. Lankes served on the board of trustees for Crisis Services and was president of the board from 1980 to 1983. He also was a member of the Erie County Mental Health Community Services board and the CPS board of trustees.

In 1978, Mr. Lankes was ordained one of the diocese's first permanent deacons. His ministry was at Blessed Sacrament Church from 1978 to 1997.

Mr. Lankes is survived by five sons, Michael, John, Peter, Thomas and David; two daughters, Virginia and Eileen Mitchell; and four sisters, Norma Steffan, Marie Fries, Thelma Jenkins and Jane Vollmer.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in St. Pius X Church, 1700 North French Road, Getzville.


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