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John P. Lane, 87, retired State Supreme Court Justice

July 9, 1930 – June 23, 2018

Retired State Supreme Court Justice John P. Lane, of Amherst, died June 23 in Brompton Heights, Amherst, where he had been a resident since October. He was 87.

Born in Buffalo, the second of three children, he was the son of attorneys John F. and Mary A. Lane. His mother was one of the first women to be a member of the Erie County Bar Association and his father served as its president.

He attended Kenmore High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Buffalo. His father died while he was still an undergraduate and he joined his parents’ law practice after he completed studies at UB Law School in 1953.

Judge Lane maintained offices in Williamsville for many years and was considered one of the area’s leading trial attorneys. Devoted to his mother, especially during her eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, he would stop to visit her every day, no matter how late he worked, his son, Tim, said.

He closed his practice when he became a judge on the Court of Claims in 1996. He moved on in 2000 to State Supreme Court, where he was supervising judge of civil cases. Following his retirement from the bench in 2010, he continued for several years as a judicial hearing officer.

Active in the Republican Party, he was a member of the Amherst Town Council from 1966 to 1971, then served as Amherst town attorney for 25 years. He also was attorney for the Amherst Industrial Development Agency.

A member of the Erie County Bar Association, he was honored as its Outstanding Jurist in 2004. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UB Law School Alumni Association in 2006.

Proud of his Irish heritage, he was one of the founding members of the Amherst Gaelic League. He also was a member of the Rascal Club and a former parishioner at SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Williamsville.

In the 1980s, he taught himself to sail, purchased a used 22-foot Pearson sailboat and took his family on outings on Lake Erie. He also was a voracious reader of history.

Surviving are his wife of 50 years, the former Jenny B. Campman; four daughters, Maureen, Colleen Lane-Rafferty, Nora and Jennifer Snider; two other sons, John Jr. and Michael; three stepsons, Timothy Weeks, Todd Weeks and Thomas Weeks; and 10 grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, in the UB Newman Center, 495 Skinnersville Road, Amherst.

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