Murrell C. Lank, 64, who retired in 1979 as president of the Lank Woodwork Co., Inc. of Washington, died of cancer Friday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital.
In 1946, Mr. Lank and his brother, Everett S. Lank, took over operation of the company, which did the ornamental woodworking in many of this city's historic buildings.
Mr. Lank served ass treasurer of the company until his brother's death in 1976, when he took over as president. The company was founded by their father, Alvin B., in 1923.
The firm's major projects included construction of a new Supreme Court bench in 1972, with angled sections to replace the old straight bench, allowing the justices to see one another more easily.
The company also restored the original Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol, did woodworking for the White House, press room and helped erect the reviewing stand for the presidential inaugurations of Richard Nixon in 1969 and 1973.
In the 1950s, the company replaced the wisteria trellis in the garden of Dumbarton Oaks. It also worked on the Smithsonian Institution's Bicentennial exhibition.
From 1950 until the firm, which retains the Lank name, was sold in 1979, the company's entire staff was involved in a toy-building operation for local underprivileged children. The toy-building workday was held each year on a Saturday near Christmas at the company plant. Employes, their children and their granchildren pitched in to make wooden toys, games and play equipment, sometimes from scraps of wood.
The Lank brothers started this charitable operation in order to avoid the usual holiday custom of giving gifts to customers. When the firm's employes were told of the idea, they offered to donate part of their time, beginning the nearly 30-year tradition.
Mr. Lank was born in Washington and graduated from McKindley Technical High School. He attended the Universtiry of Maryland and served in the Army during World War II.
He maintained homes in Falls Church and in Montross, Va. He was a longtime member of St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Falls Church, where he taught Sunday School classes for many years.
Mr. Lank was a former president of the local chapter of the Architectural Woodwork Institute. He was a member of Thad Dulin American Legion Post in Washington.
Survivors include his wife, Rosemary T., of Falls Church and Montross; two daughters, Sandra Kenestrick of Falls Church and Diane Bliss of West Bend, Wis.; a son, James, of Sylmar, Calif., and four grandchildren.
The family suggest that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Murrell Lank Memorial Fund at Luke's United Methodist Church or to the American Cancer Society.