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George James Rankin, 89, of Sunburst, Montana, passed away on March 27, 2018, at the Marias Care Center of Shelby. Services will be held at the Lutheran Church of Sunburst on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at 2pm with viewing at 1pm.
George was born to G. W. “Bill” and Julia Grinde Rankin on February 5, 1929, in Great Falls. He attended grade school at the Toole School country school and in Sunburst, where he graduated from High School in 1946. He attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings and Montana State College in Bozeman. He served in the US Army during the Korean War as a cable splicer from 1950 to 1952.
His sister Bertha Dean was a school teacher in Colstrip, MT and while visiting her, he met one of her students by the name of Jeanette D’Hoey. This was the beginning of a very long relationship.
George and Jeanette were married on October 11, 1953 in the Lutheran Church of Sunburst. They returned to the ranch east of Sunburst and continued to farm and ranch. Utilizing his military training as a linesman, he installed many miles of telephone across the Hi-Line for Northern Telephone Coop. As a farmer, he embraced conservation practices such as planting tree windbreaks and re-cropping. They also raised chinchillas for many years. Later they started raising registered Gelbvieh cattle. He was one of the first ranchers in the region to use artificial insemination to add superior genetics to their performance tested cattle herd. He continued to ranch and farm his entire life.
He was active as a 4-H leader, Sunday School superintendent, and served on the Church Council and the Toole County Conservation District Board of Supervisors.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jeanette of Sunburst, a sister, Bertha Dean Bucher of Fairbanks, Alaska, children Kathleen (Jim) Bjorkman of Sunburst, Gary (Monica) of Helena, Jeanne Rankin (Mary Hill) of Raynesford and William (Cathy) of Edmonds, Washington. Seven grandchildren: James and Curtis Haas, Anjeanette Carlson, Elissa, Julia, Rowan and Evan Rankin; and several nieces and nephews.
Memorials may be made to the Lutheran Church of Sunburst and Rocky Mountain College of Billings.