Edgar D. "Chief" Rankin, age 87, of Columbus, Nebraska died Monday June 11, 2001 at his home. The family will receive friends on Friday June 15, 2001 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at McKown Funeral Home. There will be a prayer service at 5:00 p.m. Friday also at McKown Funeral Home. Mr. Rankin's ashes will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
Edgar D. "Chief" Rankin was born August 19, 1913 in Elk Rapids, Michigan to Darrell and Lara (Miller) Rankin. He graduated from Columbus High School in 1930 and then attended Creighton University in Omaha. He then embarked upon a career in professional basketball and baseball. Part Ojibway Indian, Mr. Rankin, or "Chief" as he was affectionatelly called, achieved recongnition as one of Nebraska's greatest Native American athletes, playing basketball with such teams as the Harlem Globetrotters for 2 seasons, the New York Shamrocks, and Jessie Owen's All Stars. During those same years, he also barnstormed with baseball teams, including Grover Cleveland Alexander's House of Wizards, and the Minneola, Texas Black Spiders.
Mr. Rankin's athletic career was cut short by World War II. One of the first nine draftees from the Columbus area, Mr. Rankin spent five years in the infantry where he became a captain. He saw combat in the Italian and North African campaigns. In Italy, he led his platoon to safety from behind enemy lines against the Germans. For this, he recieved the Silver Star for gallantry in action. He also received two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. After the war, Mr. Rankin continued to be active in sports, playing golf and bowling. He was a past member of the V.F.W. #3704, Life member of the D.A.V. and a member of Hartman Post #84 American Legion.
He is survived by:
Vernell Rankin : Wife of Columbus, NE
Jim K Rankin : Son of Columbus, NE
Mike M Rankin: Son of Columbus, NE
Two Grandchildren and Five Great Grandchildren
He was preceded by:
Parents: Darrell and Lara (Miller) Rankin
Sister: Mildred LaGuardia
Memorials may be directed to Donors Choice