When he joined Clinton, Mass.-based Nypro in 1962, he borrowed money to buy 50 percent ownership of the then-small company. In 1969, he purchased the remainder and became president and CEO. Over the years, he built it into a large manufacturer with a dozen plants across the U.S., facilities in 11 countries including Germany, Russia, India, China and Singapore, and sales near $1 billion.
In 1998, he sold his Nypro stock to the company’s employee stock ownership plan, making it one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country. In 2013, Nypro was purchased by Jabil Circuit Inc.
In 1956, after graduating from Cornell University and serving two years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army in Germany, Lankton took a life-changing journey. He spent nine months traveling by motorcycle through Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, which sparked a lifelong fascination and respect for other cultures.
Lankton was known as a philanthropist, taking an active and early role supporting the FIRST robotics competition begun by entrepreneur Dean Kamen in 1992. Lankton was involved in the community in Clinton, Mass., and his interest in Russian culture led to his founding of the Museum of Russian Icons in 2007, which is thought to have the largest collection of Russian icons outside of Russia.
Lankton is survived by his wife, Janet, and their three daughters.
A private memorial service is planned. Memorial gifts can be made to the Museum of Russian Icons or the Nypro Foundation.