Steve Rankin

Obituary of Steve Rankin

It is with heartbreak the family sadly announces the unexpected passing of Stephen (Steve) F Rankin of Chatham at Windsor Regional Hospital (Ouellette Campus) on Friday, September 1st, 2023 at age 71.

Steve was born in Chatham Ontario on January 18th, 1952 and was the loving son of the late Robert and Elva Rankin (Gray) of Dover Centre.

Steve is survived by his loving spouse and best friend of 41 years, Robert Stover.

Steve is also survived by his dear loving sisters; Lillian Kuchmy (late Stan) of Wallaceburg and his sister Laurel Rankin of Chatham.

Steve was predeceased by his dear sister Myrna (David) French, dear brothers; Lowell (Lynn), John, Gregory (Sue) and Scott Rankin.

He is also survived by his kind and loving sisters-in-law: Brenda Rankin (late John) and Judy Rankin (late Scott).

Steve is also survived by dear mother-in-law; Jean Stover (late William) along with sisters-in-law; Cheryl Jee (Wayne) of Chatham and Elizabeth Stover formerly of Ottawa now Ridgetown.

Steve is also survived by his only remaining dear Aunt Kathleen Gauthier (late John) of Peterborough, Ontario. Also survived by several loving cousins, nieces and nephews.

Steve also leaves behind dear friend Susan Webster who would always spoil both Steve and Rob with her delicious homemade baked goods along with her caring personality.

Steve had many wonderful friendships throughout his journey in life. Steve cherished all of them.

Steve also had many kind neighbors over the years. Steve will be missed by his Clearville Park friends.

Steve was also predeceased by his loving and faithful canine companion Ginger who was part of his life for over 17 fun and adventurous years. He missed her so much when he parted with her in 2015.

Upon graduating from CKSS in Chatham, Steve wanted to pursue the medical profession hoping to become a Doctor. He attended Western for 2 years while hoping to eventually obtain his doctoral degree. Sadly, Steve had to give up that dream when his father passed away at age 67. Steve had to leave university and return home to look after his mother and help on the farm.

Steve took up flying planes in his early 20s and obtained a pilot’s licence for a few years. After that he moved on to other adventures.

Steve decided to join CIBC bank and later moved to Waterloo. He worked for CIBC for a few years hoping eventually to become a Bank Manager at a CIBC branch and eventually work at corporate head office. He was a great employee, however Steve realized he would be transferred “here, there and every where” in the banking business and he didn’t want that so he moved on to new adventures.

Steve served as a dedicated Manager in both Federal and Provincial governments for over 27 years. Steve garnered respect from his employer, his employees and the public they served. Steve always tried to create a workplace that would nurture and support staff. Steve always endeavored to give staff a fair and respectful workplace.

Steve was an unpretentious and non-accolades-seeking person. He was proud and loved his life along with his many accomplishments but was also private. He was always caring and committed and was well-respected by all who knew him.

Steve was an “infomaniac”. He continually sought knowledge. His mind just couldn’t get enough information, especially science. He subscribed to over 14 well-respected newspapers and had a monthly subscription for years to both “Discover and Scientific American” magazines and devoured their content as he received them.

Steve loved nature, he loved astronomy, the galaxy and the universe, always trying to understand the overwhelming scope and vastness of its complexity and wonders. He understood quantum mechanics, speed of light theory, black holes and the “Big Bang” theory. Steve knew most all constellations in our galaxy and the planetary solar system. He could explain how a star was born in a galaxy.

Steve was an amazing “keeper of memories”. He could remember most every event that occurred in his life and on what date/ year it occurred as he meticulously recorded relevant and important events throughout his life either in paper and electronic journals or in his incredible brain memory bank.

Steve was a true lover of nature. He always wanted to “give back” something in this world that was slowly being destroyed. Upon retirement in 2009, Steve had a vision of restoring a small area of land, dedicating it back to natural habitat. Both he and his spouse Rob in 2009 purchased a 12-acre parcel of land which was returned back to natural native plants, removing invasive plants, restoring wetland areas with the assistance of Ducks Unlimited along with working with several other partners in conservation. Steve also had a 3-acre wooded area on the property. This property hosts many rare birds, insects, plants. Bluebirds and tree swallows along with the giant tail butterfly were abundant there. This property is known as the “Elva Gray Kenesserie Tallgrass”. This property is located East of Ridgetown between Ridgetown and Highgate.

Steve also proudly and dedicatedly volunteered and served as former board member, becoming President of Tallgrass Ontario for several years. He retired from this demanding volunteer position a few years ago. He invested much of his time in retirement working with Tallgrass Ontario and also physically working on his conservation property. He also produced the regular Bluestem Banner Publication for Tallgrass Ontario for many publications; assisting in the hope of educating people about Tallgrass prairies and conservation in general.

Steve and Rob made a generous donation of their property and bestowed and entrusted their property and its care to Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority (LTVCA) in 2019. This conservation parcel of land is now protected and cared for in perpetuity by stewards of LTVCA.

Steve always shared such an optimistic and positive outlook on life no matter what the challenge. He was such a loving and caring partner to Rob and he shared his friendship with many.

Steve and Rob, along with their dog Ginger loved to get away to Florida every year. Steve also always enjoyed camping at Clearville park along Lake Erie. Clearville park and its beach and hiking trails were one of Steve and Rob’s favorite get-away places each summer for the past 20 years.

Steve invested in Purple Martin houses at Clearville and thoroughly maintained them throughout the season. Each September, Steve would meticulously take the houses down, clean them and store them through the winter and then start the process over putting them up the next spring. In all his efforts, Steve helped to retain and grow a larger colony of Purple Martin at Clearville over those 20 years. He got so much enjoyment watching the Purple Martins soaring through the summer sky and then watching the baby martins fledge and fly.

Steve, not having any children has left a beautiful legacy in this world of; his love, commitment and dedication to nature. His commitment and dedication to his conservation property will continue his legacy for future survival of rare butterflies, bluebird, swallows, pollinators, reptile and amphibians along with many rare native plants. Steve always hoped it would bring joy to future generations who may never have the chance to see some of the rare species without his conservation efforts.

The family would like to thank the paramedics, Chatham ER trauma team and especially the Windsor Regional Hospital (Ouellette Campus) medical team that tended to Steve. The care and compassion provided will always be remembered.

Steve always loved animals and nature. The family asks, in lieu of flowers, if so desired, in memory of Steve donations would be appreciated to the local Pet and Wildlife Rescue in Chatham.

In keeping with Steve’s wishes, there will be no funeral service or visitation and cremation will take place with a private family gathering at a later time.

Time always parts us from those we love in this mortal world; but the love and legacy created is enduring and everlasting. It was a privilege of having his love, dedication and commitment. I feel so honored and blessed to have shared 41 years with Steve.

Love is Love. Please be kind to one another.

It is time for you to leave us now Steve and explore the vast universe and all of its wonders.

McKinlay Funeral Home

459 St. Clair Street, Chatham