ANITA LANKLER, FRIEND OF BEACHES

The Palm Beach Post – January 24, 2003
By Sarah Eisenhauer, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

JUPITER – Anita Lankler loved to wake up Saturday mornings, strap her black lab, Bonnie, to a leash and stroll along the beach, befriending other dog owners along the way. So when the town council in 1994 considered banning dogs from the waterfront, Mrs. Lankler and a few of these friends made an offer; Let the dogs stay on the beach and we’ll clean up after them. From that simple idea, Friends of Jupiter Beach formed to rid the 2.5-mile stretch of oceanfront from the Jupiter Inlet to Juno Beach of both canine and human litter.  Through a combination of modesty, hard work and kindness, Mrs. Lankler nurtured the group from about 30 volunteers to more than 5,500 today.

After a nearly two year battle with cancer, Mrs. Lankler died Wednesday, with her husband, Sandy, and two rescued labs, Bonnie and Brutus, at her bedside.  She was 71.

‘‘We had an unforgettably wonderful life together,” said Sandy Lankler, adding that his wife spent about 80 hours a week working for Friends of Jupiter Beach.  “In the course of it all, it’s safe to say she probably dealt with 10,000 people, and I don’t think she made a single enemy.”

Just last week, Gov. Jeb Bush chose Mrs. Lankler as a recipient of a Points of Light Award for her efforts to promote respect for the beach and environment.  The Solid Waste Authority three times recognized Mrs. Lankler and the group with a Distinguished Leadership Award.

Mrs. Lankler is a “major reason” why Jupiter beaches are a destination for dog lovers, Town Councilman Don Daniels said.  She had a very nonthreatening way of getting groups to see eye-to-eye on thorny issues, he said.

Mrs. Lankler also is survived by three children and seven grandchildren. A public “Celebration of her life” will be held this spring.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Friends of Jupiter Beach.