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Wanda Rankin

August 3, 1923 ~ November 13, 2019 (age 96)

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Wanda Burnetta "Red" Rankin, August 3,1923 - November 13, 2019

Wanda was an amazing woman who touched many lives throughout her ninety-six years. She is survived by her son, Roger Rankin; grandchildren, Elizabeth (Daryl) DeMoss, Elliot Rankin and great-grandchildren, Isabella DeMoss, Jacob DeMoss and Bennett Taylor.

Wanda was born in Flint, Michigan to parents Flora (Lackey) and Joe Whitson. She grew up in Detroit, Michigan with her sister, Ruby Bristol, and brother, Orville Whitson, who preceded her in death. In 1941 she met a handsome man named Virgil Rankin at Welker’s farm.  He bought Wanda her first birthday cake. They fell in love and were married shortly after on Labor Day September 1,1941.  She joked that she labored every day after. Wanda had her first child, Charles Rankin, on June 24,1942. After Charles was born, Virgil was drafted and Wanda became a riveter on the “Hell Diver Bombers” during WWII. Wanda was a true red-haired “Rosie the Riveter”.

After the war the Rankin family moved to Defiance, Ohio were second son, Robert Rankin was born on April 7,1947. A few years later their third son, Roger was born on October 27, 1949. Wanda graduated from Defiance College in 1963 and taught in the Defiance Public Schools for twenty years.  To be closer to their grandchildren, Virgil and Wanda moved to Lima, Ohio where Wanda continued her teaching career as a substitute teacher in the Lima City Schools.

In 2015 she moved to Union, Kentucky to live with her son, Roger, and be close to her great-grandchildren. Wanda lived a long, beautiful life filled with many adventures. She will be incredibly missed and never forgotten.

A private family funeral service will be held at Riverside Cemetery on Saturday, November 16th in Defiance, Ohio. Schaffer Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in the name of Wanda Burnetta Rankin to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF), <>. Online condolences can be given at

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