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Nov. 5, 1917 – Jan. 7, 2014

Eric E. Lansing, a certified public accountant who fled Germany to escape persecution in the 1930s and returned during World War II to help defeat the Nazis, died Jan. 7 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst. He was 96.

Born Eric Lipcowitz in Munich, Germany, he studied in Switzerland and England after Hitler closed the German schools to Jews, then came to the U.S. in 1937 and attended City College of New York. After his parents and younger brother came to America in 1940, he moved to Buffalo, where his father had found a job, and attended the University of Buffalo.

In 1943, he and his brother joined the Army and, not wanting to serve with a foreign surname, changed their names to Lansing. Since he spoke German fluently, he worked in intelligence under Gen. Omar Bradley and uncovered German troop movements leading up to the Battle of the Bulge. He attained the rank of master sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star.

He recounted his wartime experiences in 2011 in The Buffalo News series “Saluting Our War Heroes.”

Returning from service, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UB and worked at Bufkor as comptroller. After he became a certified public accountant in 1949, he was a CPA for Lester Stone & Co., then for 20 years was a partner in the accounting firm of Daniel Joseph & Co. in Williamsville. He retired in 1984.

In retirement, he volunteered as a patient advocate at Buffalo General Hospital and was an Erie County arbitrator. He also delivered meals for Meals on Wheels and helped found the Buffalo chapter of 40 Plus, which helps middle-aged people find jobs.

A resident of Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda for 50 years before moving to Canterbury Woods Retirement Community in Amherst, he was a founding member of the Suburban Congregation in 1955, which later became Temple Beth Am and now is Congregation Shir Shalom.

Mr. Lansing enjoyed gardening, bowling, bridge, tennis and, in his younger years, skiing.

He also enjoyed playing the piano and attending lectures, the theater and classical music concerts.

He also traveled extensively, visiting more than 50 countries on six continents.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, the former Ruth Oberlander; a daughter, Diane; a son, Tom; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Sunday in Mesnekoff Funeral Home, East Amherst.