Charles Frederic Lanman, Jr. of Milwaukee, died May 10, 2017, in the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice, following a short occurrence of pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by his family and close friend. He was 78.
Charles was born, October 31, 1938, in New York City, New York, where his father was stationed as an FBI special agent. He moved with his family back to Arlington, VA and the DC Metropolitan area, the family's hometown, ten years later. Charles graduated from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va, in 1956, and attended the University of Virginia, before graduating from the University of Chicago with a BA in English Language and Literature in 1960. He completed a BS in Computer Science at the University of the District of Columbia in1990, when he was awarded a certificate of excellence from the College of Physical Science, Engineering and Technology for obtaining the highest grade point average among the students in his field of study.
The first twenty-five years of his career were spent as a civil servant with the US Federal Government, the majority of these years spent as a Public Information Officer in the US Bureau of Mines, Department of Interior, where he wrote science publications, relating to the research and development of US mineral resources, and mining health and safety issues. He also fielded freedom of information inquiries and wrote speeches for senior staff members of the bureau and department. In the eighties, Charles began to work part time on a computer science degree, becoming a full time student in 1986, when the Federal Government began to down size the work of the bureau as the Department of Energy and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were created.
From 1989 through his retirement in 2007, Charles worked for a number of software development firms providing advanced technology systems and services in support of national security and civil defense needs, including Logicon Corporation, SRA/Systems Research & Applications Corporation, and Titan Corporation. At EDS/Electronic Data Systems he helped to develop software for the US Immigration & Customs Service's new, post-9/11 electronic entry and exit programs.
Charles was an avid and devoted reader, not only of English literature but the study of literary criticism, and particularly the works of Canadian literary critic and literary theorist, Northrop Frye. He spent the most recent years of his retirement re-reading many of his favorite college texts and literature, especially Frye's, The Source: The Bible and Literature that looked at the Bible as not only a religious text but as the source of cultural and social criticism of western civilization. Charles loved poetry and recited poetry spontaneously throughout life when situations reminded him of a poetic reference, one of the reasons his wife married him! Charles loved The Scientific American magazine and was an avid reader of all things science, especially the origins of human and animal life, physics and astronomy, and quantum physics. The latter subject became a source of long and animated conversations between father and son, when Charles retired and moved to Milwaukee in 2007, with his wife. to live near their son and his family.
Charles also loved walking in nature, and studying plant life, birds, geology and geography, especially the glaciation of Wisconsin during the last Ice Age. Both his children and grandchildren enjoyed nature walks with him. Charles grew up spending a part of his summers at his Aunt Gertrude's cottage in Ocean City, Maryland, and loved bringing his children there as well. This summer, his grandchildren will become the third generation of Lanmans to love the ocean. Charles loved making up songs, dittys and limericks to the endless delight of his children and grandchildren. He was a terrific and spontaneous wit and shared this gift abundantly with all alike, even with hospital staff caring for him in the days before his death.
Charles was a Man of Science and Letters, a Renaissance Man, who although not religious or spiritual in a traditional sense, possessed a deep and abiding love and compassion for life and the people in it, not only his family and friends, but all people, especially those who have been persecuted or denied the basic necessities and rights of our life together. He was his wife's strongest and most steadfast supporter in her many years of work with the refugee resettlement and immigration ministries of the United Methodist Church, and of her work with the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee. He volunteered alongside her in the various ministries of the local churches she served including feeding the homeless. He was a strong supporter of the work of the American Civil Liberties Union and of the Natural Resource Defense Council, and donations in his honor to these organizations would be greatly appreciated. He had an amazing integrity and honesty and sense of humility that made even his casual acquaintances remember him as "such a nice man," and as someone who took an authentic interest in the lives and interests of those he met.
Charles is survived by his wife, Rev. Deacon Nancy A. Lanman, daughter, April A. Lanman (Felix Bockemuehl), of Taisersdorf, Germany, son, Keith A. Lanman (Cynthia), of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, six grandchildren, Oliver Lanman-Bockemuehl, Simeon Lanman-Bockemuehl, Jonas Lanman-Bockemuehl, Noah Lanman-Bockemuehl, Evelyn M. Lanman and Olive P. Lanman, and cousin, Mary Anne Pusey, of Mt. Airy, Maryland. He is predeceased by his parents, Charles F. Lanman, Sr. and Edith M. (Pixton) Lanman of Washington, DC.
His family is planning two celebrations of his life, one the second week in June in Milwaukee and another, in the early fall, in the Washington, DC area, where he lived and worked for nearly fifty years. Times, dates and venues will be shared in the near future. Cremation services were provided by the Cremation Society of Milwaukee/Max A. Sass & Sons, Greenridge Chapel, 4747 S. 60th Street, Greenfield, WI 53220. Charles will be buried next to his father, in Glenwood Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
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