Dean W. (Bill) Rankin, Jr. passed away peacefully January 28th surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Berea, Ohio to Dean W. Rankin and Lorna Rankin on Flag Day, June 14th 1929. He attended University School in Cleveland, Ohio and then Yale University earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. He met the love of his life, Jeanne, in the youth group of Lakewood Congregational Church and they married on August 5th of 1952. Since then they have seldom been apart. During the Korean War, Jeanne joined him during his deployment as a Civil Engineer in support of the United States Army in Japan. On returning home, they settled in Rocky River, Ohio. Bill joined his father’s General Contracting firm, D.W. Rankin Inc., and over the course of his career oversaw the construction of numerous commercial ventures throughout the Cleveland area.
During the summer months, Bill and his bride enjoyed much of their weekend time at the Cleveland Yacht Club. They, along with Bill’s brother Bob and Jeanne’s brother Richard, sailed their Ensign Yardwork around and across Lake Erie, winning numerous races and championships.
In 1992 they relocated to the sunny island of Sanibel and quickly became active members in the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, where Bill served as a deacon, as head usher and as a counter for a number of years. In addition, Bill and Jeanne became fixtures at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where he spent many afternoons roving or working the front desk. Bill was also instrumental in the design and construction of the 1999 Visitor’s center. He served as Advisor to the Board of Ding Darling Society, received the Regional Director’s Honor Award for Outstanding Performance in 1999, the Founder’s Award from the Ding Darling Wildlife Society in 2017, and worked for 8,345 hours over his 27 years as a volunteer. Bill took to woodworking during his off hours and created numerous carvings of some of his favorite sailing vessels as well as three dimensional wooden puzzles for his grandchildren.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of nearly 68 years, his son, Dean W. Rankin, III and his wife Peg, his daughter Lynn Walter and her husband W. Bart Walter, his daughter Mary Gregory and her husband Tom, and his brother Robert Rankin and his wife Moira. He was the proud Grandfather of eight and Great-Grandfather of one.
If you wish to honor his memory, please consider a donation to either Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge or the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ.