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February 27, 2014

Robert Louis Rankin

TONGANOXIE, Kansas — Robert Louis Rankin, known as Bob, passed away Feb. 24, 2014 at the age of 75 at Saint Luke's Hospice in Kansas City, Mo. He was the oldest son of Harvey W. and Helen E. Rankin.

During his childhood in Tifton, he founded the Tifton chapter of the civil defense Ground Observer Corps, was active in Boy Scout Troop 63, and was a leader in influencing other Tifton teenagers to become amateur radio operators.

He graduated from Tifton High School in 1956, attended Emory University for his bachelor's degree, and acquired a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Chicago in 1972, including two years as a Fulbright Fellow in Romania. He spent the rest of his life as a professor of Linguistics at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., where he specialized in the study and preservation of Native American languages.  He was made an honorary member of the Sioux Nation in recognition of his efforts.

Bob is survived by his wife of 48 years, Carolyn Rankin of Tonganoxie, Kan. and his younger brother, Jim of Concord, Calif.  Bob will be greatly missed. His keen sense of humor was a hallmark that all his friends will always remember.

The family requests memorial gifts be made to the American Cancer Society. His friends in Kansas will gather at a later date to remember him.

Condolences may be sent to the family at the online guest registry at www.bowen-donaldson.com.

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