James (Jim) L. Rankin, 78, long time resident of Wolfeboro, N.H., passed peacefully on Friday, November 13th, after a long and courageous battle with leukemia. Jim was born in Chelsea Massachusetts and grew up in Everett Massachusetts. He attended and graduated from Everett High School. While in high school, he played football, and belonged to the vocal group The Fortunes. He went on to receive his bachelor of science degree in Health and Physical Education from Eastern New Mexico University. It was there that he began his diving career. Becoming an alternate to the diving team in the 1969 Pan American games and being inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for Eastern New Mexico University. He received his master of science degree at Ohio University in Health and Physical Education with a minor in Supervision and Administration. Jim was a lifelong educator. He began his career as director of physical education at Kennett High school, and ended his career at the Kingswood Regional Middle school as a science, health teacher and coach in 1996. In the years between he also worked as a teacher/coach at Ohio University, The State University of New York in Geneseo, and Plymouth University. Jim spent a brief time as the Director of Recreation in Rochester, N.H. as well. However, he was most proud of the work he did as a National Safety Services Specialist New England Division for the American Red Cross. During this time he also worked and directed the aquatics school for the Red Cross, educating many future lifeguards and swim teachers. He was also proud of the years of work that he has done for the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation department. He has a lifeguard at Brewster beach since he was 15 years old. He continued to guard and teach swimming lessons until the summer of 2008. In his spare time, Jim was an avid competitor. He participated for many years in the Granite Man Triathalon. Everyone recognized Jim while he was running and biking throughout the town, or riding here and there in the Red- X mobile.
He is survived by his wife Debra (Wilson) Rankin of Wolfeboro, his daughter Kathleen (Rankin) Cluxton, her husband Dan and his grandson Connor of Springfield, Virginia, his daughter Brennan Rankin and her fiance Adam Barnett of Salt Lake City, His sister, Barbara Kreiensieck and brother in law Dale Kreiensieck of Middleton, NH, and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Norman and E.Mae (Knowlton) Rankin, his brother and sister in law, Leslie Rankin and Patricia Rankin of Wolfeboro, his brother Norman Rankin Jr of Seminole, Florida and his very best friend Timothy Whiting of Wolfeboro.
A memorial service will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you make donations to the Leukemia/ Lymphoma society, the American Red Cross, or the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department.
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