Robert Lewis Rankin
Robert Lewis Rankin
  • August 18, 1925 - September 30, 2011
  • Yakima, Washington

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An adoring husband, proud father, grandfather, great grandfather, loyal friend, and passionate aviator, Robert Lewis Rankin passed away Friday September 30th at Yakima Regional Hospital. As was his father before him, Bob was born in Yakima, Washington on August 18, 1925 to George Vernon Rankin and May Lewis Rankin.

Growing up in Yakima Bob led an active, adventurous life; hunting, fishing, and camping. He attended Roosevelt Elementary School, Franklin Jr. High School, and Yakima High School, where he was on the ski team. He then entered into the Navy V-12 Officers Candidate Program at Dickenson State Teachers College. The program transferred him to the University of Minnesota where he studied aeronautical engineering and was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After the closure of the Officer's Candidate Program, Bob deployed on an AP Transport ship in the Pacific. After his return, Bob married the love of his life, Barbara Louise Sanders, in 1948. He graduated from Washington State University in 1949 with a BA in Business Administration.

His working career began at the Yakima Hardware Company, now Horizon Distribution where he became Vice President of sales. In 1957 he moved to Rankin Equipment Co., a farm equipment wholesaler to work with his uncle, Charles Rankin. He served as President of Rankin Equipment Co. from 1963 until 1995, and Chairman of the Board until his passing. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Northstar Attachments, the manufacturing division of Rankin Equipment.

Bob was a member of Downtown Yakima Rotary Club since 1954 and was a past board member. Other memberships over the years included being an honorary Elks, Yakima Flying Club, Yakima Ski Club, Yakima Tennis Club, Yakima Athletic Club, and Yakima Country Club. He served on the board of trustees of the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital from 1966 to 1972. He also was a longtime board member of Horizon Distribution. Bob belonged to St. Timothy's Episcopal Church where he served on the stewardship committee, the vestry, and as an usher.

An expert pilot, Bob frequently flew his family and friends, with his wife often as his co-pilot, extensively in the northwest and the U.S. He took his family as far north as Kotzebue, Alaska. He and Barbara went as far east as Nova Scotia, and as far south as Costa Rica. In the summer he commuted in his plane between Yakima and the family cabin on Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands.

Bob is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Barbara, his sisters Ruth Rankin Dolsen and Helen Rogers Miller, his dear children Wendy Hunter(John) of Seattle, Robin Coffin(Tom), David Rankin(Purna), and Julie Gilbert(Curtiss) all of Yakima. He leaves behind ten loving grandchildren, Reed, Jamie, and Annie Hunter of Seattle, Wiley (Brette) and Carl Coffin, Christopher (Agustina) and Laura Rankin, and Conor, Meg, and Charlie Gilbert, all of Yakima. Great-grandchildren Luke and Liam Rankin of Yakima. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the doctors who took such good care of him: Dr. Manuel Lozano, Dr. David Krueger, Dr. Albert Brady, Dr. Goldy Bansal, Dr. Scott Heflick, and all the nurses at Regional Hospital, especially Maria Gonzales, Kathy Lee and Betsy Grose in Intensive Care.

Services will be held at 12:30 P.M. Friday, October 7, 2011 at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 4105 Richey Road. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: The UW Foundation to The Jamie A. Hunter Endowed Professorship in Reconstructive Plastic Surgery c/o Langevine-Mussetter Funeral Home or a charity of the giver's choice.