William Lankford, pilot, union representative

January 04, 2009|By JACQUES KELLY

William Arnold Lankford, a retired airline pilot and union representative, died of heart failure Dec. 28 at Regional Memorial Hospital near Miami. He was 77.

Born and raised in Salisbury, he was a 1950 Wicomico Senior High School graduate. He joined the Air Force and completed two years of flight school. Trained as a tactical fighter pilot, Mr. Lankford served in Europe during the Cold War.

After retiring from military service, Mr. Lankford was a partner in a development and contracting business in the Washington area. He later became an Eastern Airlines pilot and flew routes in the U.S. and South America.

For many of those years, he served his fellow pilots as their union representative.

Mr. Lankford enjoyed reading and discussing history and communications. He retired to Hialeah, Fla., played golf and followed sports.

"He treasured his youth on the Eastern Shore," said a cousin, Michael Kotarba of Baltimore. "He remembered the Sears kit cottage his father built on an oyster-shell road on the bay side in Ocean City. He loved to go clamming."

Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Holloway Funeral Home in Salisbury.

Survivors include another cousin, Joseph Kotarba of Lewes, Del.; and an uncle, Alexander Kotarba of Eustis, Fla.

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