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John Price Rankin, Jr., 77 of Cortez, passed away Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, at Blake Memorial Hospital, after a valiant 20-year battle against chronic lymphocytic leukemia that had morphed into myelodysplastic syndrome last summer.
Born Feb. 6, 1940, in Ft. Lauderdale to John Price and Elizabeth Devenney Rankin, John graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduating from the University of Miami.
John was an avid boater and a licensed U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton master sea captain. He worked for Merrill Lynch for 13 years, in marketing and consulting in the marine industry, captained water-based film crews in Hawaii and Thailand, and co-owned the A-Team Marine photo boat until his retirement.
In 1989, John met Nanette on a blind date at a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game and the rest is history. They married in 1992 and filled the next 25 years of their life with family and friends, sailing on their Native Spirit, and enjoying cruises and travels. During a 2010 “bucket list” tour of Ireland for John’s 70th birthday they were delighted to spend time with some of his mother’s extended family in Northern Ireland.
John loved playing and watching tennis and cheering on his Tar Heels and Hurricanes college basketball and football teams and his NFL Bucs, aka “the helmets.” He served as a Manatee County guardian ad litem and was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church, the UNC Rams Club and United Tennis Club. He was a proud member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and maintained strong relationships with his brothers. John never knew a stranger, had a fantastic sense of humor, and wasted none of his time complaining about the medical procedures and hospitalizations he endured over the past 25 years.
John is survived by loving wife, best friend and first mate, Nanette, of Cortez; son John Price Rankin III (friend Brandy) of St. Petersburg; stepdaughters Sara Lomasz Flesch (Erik) of Mineral Point, Wisc., and Rachel Lomasz of Chicago; grandchildren Eli and Audrey Rankin and Caroline and Grayson Lomasz; brother Robert Rankin (Jean) of Lutz; nieces and nephews; the small army of sisters- and brothers-in-law and their children who became part of his family in 1992; and a tremendous group of some of the best friends a man can have.
Funeral services will take place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 6311 3rd Ave. W., Bradenton, with a celebration of life immediately following at the United Tennis Club, 4511 Bay Club Dr., Bradenton. John’s family will honor his wish to have his ashes scattered at sea at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Moffitt Cancer Center or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.