Dean A. Lanning
The Rev. Dean Arden Lanning, 90, died on Aug. 20, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. He was deeply loved as a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Those who knew him will celebrate his life and cherish the memories of his work.
Rev. Lanning was born in 1929 to Orin and Laura (Vickers) Lanning, on a farm near Eagle, Neb. He attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he received his undergraduate degree and, in 1987, an honorary Doctor of Divinity. While a student, he was a member of Pi Kappa Delta and Pi Gamma Mu. He graduated from Perkins Theological Seminary (Southern Methodist University) in 1955 and from Union Theological Seminary (Columbia University) in 1959.
In 1952, he married Dorris Thomas of Lincoln, Neb. They served pastorates in Clifton, Wayne, Summit and Maplewood, N.J. An ordained minister of the United Methodist Church for 42 years, he served six of those years as a district superintendent in the Northern New Jersey Conference. He was an elected delegate to the General Conference of the UMC and served on the Board of Church and Society.
A lifelong champion for social justice, he was an active participant in the civil rights movement. He found wisdom and value in all faith traditions, and was committed to building understanding through dialogue between religions. Rev. Lanning was an early and outspoken advocate against the ban within the United Methodist Church prohibiting the ordination and marriage of LGBTQ people. Following his retirement, he counseled prisoners, including death row inmates, as part of the Kairos Prison Ministry.
Dean loved sports and competition, but most of all, he enjoyed a game well-played. He was an avid tennis player throughout his life. Even in his later years, he played a competitive game against younger family members, compensating for age with strategy.
Rev. Lanning is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, Dorris; four children, Lynne (Richard Smith), Leigh (Douglas) Hornick, Mary (Larry) Koskinen and Mark (Jeniphr Breckenridge); 11 grandchildren; a great-grandson; and nine nieces and nephews.
The memorial service recording will be available at www.lovelylane.org after Sept. 26. Personal messages to the Lanning family may be sent to email@example.com.
If desired, gifts in his memory may be made to Eagle Nebraska UMC, P.O. Box 269, Eagle, NE 68347; Nebraska Wesleyan University, 5000 St. Paul Ave., Lincoln, NE 68504-2794; or Kidneeds c/o Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, 324 Third St. SE, Unit 400, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.