Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 25, 2013

Kenley MacKendree Lanter


— Services for Kenley MacKendree Lanter will be held at First Presbyterian Church, where he was a lifelong member, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, at 2 p.m., with interment following at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Mr. Lanter, 88, died peacefully at his home after a lengthy illness. Mr. Lanter was born in Thomasville on April 14, 1924, a son of the late Robert H. and Elizabeth MacKendree Lanter. He attended Thomasville High School he played for the football team four years as half back and was Army ROTC commander. He joined the Navy his senior year and due to an act of congress was awarded his high school diploma and Thomasville Bulldogs Iron Dog Award in 2004. After joining the Navy in 1943, he attended the University of Illinois Signal School and as Signalman 3rd Class was assigned to the USS Indianapolis heavy cruiser, flagship of the Fifth Fleet in the Pacific and President Roosevelt's Ship of State. Mr. Lanter's overseas duties included Asian Pacific Raids, Yap, Palau, Ulithi, Woleai, the Marianna's "Turkey Shoot", Saipan, Tinian, Guam, the first Battle of the Philippine Sea, Western Carolinas, Raids of Japan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Decorations awarded included the Purple Heart, Navy Unit Commendation and ribbons for Combat Action and Asiatic Pacific Badge with six stars. The USS Indianapolis was sunk by Japanese Submarine torpedoes just after completing a highly secret mission delivering the components for the atomic bomb that ended World War II. The ship sank in 12 minutes just after midnight in the Pacific Ocean July 30, 1945. Some 1,200 crewmen went into the ocean and five grueling days and nights later survivors were accidentally discovered, and a massive rescue was launched. Only 317 living survivors were recovered, including Mr. Lanter. After discharge from the Navy in 1946, Mr. Lanter served in the Navy Reserve from 1946-1950. He served as Sergeant 1st Class in the National Guard from 1950-1955, where he earned a Sharp shooter badge. He was a charter member of the American Legion Post 222, Charter member Commander of Post 222 and charter member of VFW Post 4995. Mr. Lanter enjoyed many sports and activities with his children. He was pitcher for a fast pitch softball team and played half back for the semi pro football team, the Bulldozers. He was a lifelong member of the Thomasville Amateur Radio Club, enjoyed years of lighting and staging for the Thomasville Junior Service League and was a founding board member of The Thomasville Music and Drama Troupe. He was coach and assistant coach for numerous Little League, Junior League baseball and football teams and was one of the founders of American Legion Post 222's baseball team. Despite his tragic naval experience, Mr. Lanter loved the ocean, fishing and sailing. He was a longtime member of the Apalachee Bay Yacht Club. In 1969, Mr. Lanter started his own business, Lanter Communication, which still serves Thomasville today. He was a lifetime member of the Georgia Salzberger Association, lifetime member of American Legion and VFW. Mr. Lanter was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert H. Lanter Jr. (Thomasville ), Marshall A. Lanter (Fayetteville, N.C.), Walter S. Lanter (Fort Valley); two half-sisters Henrietta and Velva Lanter (Waycross); and an uncle, Raymond MacKendree, of Thomasville. Surviving are his wife of 29 years Carmen Simmons Lanter; two sons, Kenley M. Lanter Jr., of Thomasville, Joseph H. Lanter, of Houston, Texas; daughters, Debra L. Rogers, son-in-law, Dannie, of Thomasville, and Linda Chastain, of Thomasville; five grandchildren, Kara L. Day (Andrew), of Houston, Texas, Matthew M. Lanter, of Los Angeles, Calif., Calla K. Chastain and J. Kenley Chastain, of Thomasville, and Vanessa R. Lawrence (Joe), of Athens. Also surviving is his first wife and mother of his children, Jessie F. Lanter, of Thomasville; three sisters-in-law, Pat Lanter, of Fayetteville N. C., Ann Lanter, of Fort Valley, and Allene Lanter, of Thomasville. He had five great-grandchildren, Hudson and Brody Day, Miles, Charlie and Ben Lawrence; and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved dearly. Family visitation will be Saturday. — Allen & Allen Funeral Home