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Nature 14


Curtis Lankford

August 3, 1944 ~ February 9, 2019 (age 74)

Curtis Lankford, age 74, of Norwalk, died peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday afternoon, February 9, 2019 in the comfort of his Lakewood home.

A Celebration of Life Service will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 15th at O'Leary Funeral & Cremation Services in Norwalk.  A visitation with Curtis' family will begin at 5 p.m. at the funeral home.

On-line condolences and flowers (through O'Leary's Flowers in Norwalk) may be sent to his service by selecting the "send tributes/flowers" tab or by calling (515) 981-0700.  


Curt's Life Story

Curtis James Lankford was born in Dewitt, Michigan on August 3, 1944 to George Hampton Lankford and Elleyn June (Gray) Lankford. He was a welcome late surprise to his older siblings, Lewis & Dorothy Lankford, Gerald & Jacqueline Lankford, and Janet and Albert Shulz, who spoiled him with love. Because of the difference in ages, some of his earliest partners in crime were his nephews, Marty and Randy.

Curtis met the love of his life and forever girlfriend, Jeannette Rosemary (Romine) Lankford at a frat party at Central Michigan University. They were married on August 14, 1964 and moved from Lansing, Michigan to Norwalk, Iowa in 1974. The couple was blessed with two children, Jennifer (Steven) VanKerckvoorde and Craig (Lisa) Lankford. The children thought they were spoiled until Curtis met his grandchildren Dylan VanKerckvoorde, Zach Liter, Tyrus Lankford, Thomas Lankford, Sophia VanKerckvoorde, and Leo Lankford.

Family was everything to Curtis and he taught his family this wonderful lesson daily.  He made sure that he spent as much time as possible through traveling, coin & sports conventions and was heavily involved with Soap Box Derby.  He began and continued his adventures professionally, retiring as an Underwriting Vice President for Farm Bureau Insurance. He holds two intellectual patents, past presidencies and membership of industry associations and non-profit boards, and left a legacy of giving.  He was honored to serve as a special ambassador to Belarus to set up a national insurance company after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Curt loved serving his adopted community of Norwalk. He owned the city's first video store; Town Talkies, as well as Bleacher Bum Sports with his son for 20 years. Mr. Lankford served three terms on the Norwalk City Council where he made many friends and managed to annoy a number of people, all while helping make his community better.

Our father lived his dreams with the love of his life and family by his side. He traveled extensively, spending many winters in Kauai, summers hiking in mountains or fishing in Canada or hunting.  The last 10 years he spent working with Soap Box Derby on a local and national level. His cabin in the woods, built by his family and friends, was his place of peaceful reflection and his most beloved place.

On Saturday afternoon, February 9, 2019 Curt died surrounded by family at his home in Norwalk.  He lived 74 years, 6 months, and 6 days.  He was preceded in death by his parents; and wife, Jeannette Rosemary Lankford on December 25, 2016; and all of his siblings. 

He is survived by his two children both of Norwalk Jennifer (Steven) VanKerckvoorde and Craig (Lisa) Lankford; his grandchildren, Dylan VanKerckvoorde, Zach Liter, Tyrus Lankford, Thomas Lankford, Sophia VanKerckvoorde, and Leo Lankford; his two nephews, Marty and Randy Lankford; and a niece, Kim Lankford.

Curtis placed others before himself at all times, was well loved and will be dearly missed as the head of the Lankford family.

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