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July 31, 2014

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Originally published: 2013-12-30 12:04:47
Last modified: 2013-12-30 12:05:33

David Holland Rankin

David Holland Rankin of the Cypress, Charlotte, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013.

He was born on July 18, 1922, the son of Rufus Grady Rankin and Ruth Boyce Rankin of Gastonia.

His early childhood was spent in Gastonia and Charlotte. He attended Alexander Graham Jr. High School in Charlotte, Woodberry Forest School in Woodberry Forest, Va., The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at UNC and at the Naval Academy where he was captain of the Varsity Golf Team (1944-1945) and a saxophonist in the university band.

Although his Naval Academy class graduated in 1946, he went on active duty in 1945 and was assigned to an attack destroyer escort convert that carried a 100-man demolition team, predecessors of the Navy Seals. It was the first ship to enter Tokyo Bay after the surrender of Japan, to let the demolition team clear the harbor of any hazards. He remained on active duty until 1947.

He married the love of his life, Nancy Fidelia O'Herron, on Feb. 26, 1946. They eventually located in Asheville, and then in Charlotte, where he was employed by Eckerd Drugs. He retired in 1977 as president and CEO.

He served on the boards of many local companies including Wachovia Bank and Trust, where he was appointed vice chairman in 1975. He was a member of the board of trustees of the North Carolina Orthopedic Hospital, Chairman of the Carolinas Chapter of the American Red Cross, and President of the Charlotte Merchants Association.

After retiring in 1977, he spent time between Charlotte, Palm Beach, Fla., and his beloved mountain home in Blowing Rock. He was a member of the Charlotte Country Club, The Blowing Rock Country Club, where he served as president, Quail Hollow Country Club, and The Everglades Club in Palm Beach. He was also a member of The Piedmont Club and Charlotte City Club, The UNC Rams Club, where he served as president (1968-1969), and was a member of The Myers Park Presbyterian Church.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Rufus Grady Rankin Jr. and George Mason Rankin, and by his sister, Anna Boyce Rankin Lineberger.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy O'Herron Rankin of the Cypress; by his eldest son, David Holland Rankin Jr. and wife, Ann; by his daughter, Betty Rankin Hechenbleikner and husband, Richard; by his son, Samuel Boyce Rankin and wife, Susan; by his son, Michael O'Herron Rankin and wife ,Kay, all of Charlotte; by ten grandchildren, Nancy Hechenbleikner Coley and husband, Cam, Dr. Elizabeth Madeline Hechenbleikner and husband, Daniel Samarov, Madeline Vick Hechenbleikner, Ellen Elizabeth Rankin, Charlotte O'Herron Rankin, Samuel Boyce Rankin Jr., Anna Boyce Rankin, George Mason Rankin and wife, Krista, Dr. Matthew Hall Rankin and wife, Beth, and Mary Holland Rankin Griffin and husband, Tripp; by seven great-grandchildren; and by his first cousin, Dr. Rufus Pinkney Rankin Jr. and wife, Jo.

David, affectionately known as "Papa," was a man of many interests and talents, especially the game of golf. Papa's greatest legacy and passion in life was his family. He cherished time spent with his beloved wife, Nancy, four children, ten grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and many other family members. There was always a place on his knee for a loving visit and warm hug. There were countless family gatherings over the years at his Charlotte residence and beloved home in Blowing Rock. He would often play his harmonica and sing his favorite tunes for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Papa left behind a very close family united by his steadfast love, devotion, and generosity.

A celebration of David's life was held 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. His nephew, John Thomas Sullivan Jr., will serve as honorary pallbearer. The family received friends following the service at the church. Visitation was from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec.30, 2013, in the Clubhouse at the Cypress of Charlotte, 3442 Cypress Club Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.

Memorials may be made to Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte, NC 28207.

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