RANKIN, Rev. William F. ‘Bill’
Father Bill Rankin passed away peacefully and entered the Kingdom of Heaven on July 11, 2015, with his loving family and friends at his side.
Born in Glace Bay, he was the son of the late Bert and Kathleen (MacGillivray) Rankin.
Bill attended St. Anne’s School for his entire schooling; starting from primary to elementary, then junior high to high school, which culminated in June of 1955 with his graduation from high school. In addition to being an outstanding scholar and senior class president, he was a multi-talented athlete; playing rugby, hockey, basketball and was a member on several championship teams.
After graduating from senior high, he continued right on to St. Francis Xavier University, where he earned his BA degree in 1959 and his B.Ed. in 1960. Bill’s highlight of those years was being a part of the Collegians Singing Quartet and the Varsity 4 St. FX Quartet.
He then attended Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax, where he studied for and achieved his Bachelor of Theology Degree. On May 23, 1964, Bill was ordained to the priesthood at St. Ninian’s Cathedral, Antigonish.
Fr. Bill’s first appointment as a priest in 1964 was to St. Agnes parish in New Waterford. The following year he was transferred to the Star of the Sea parish in Canso and St. Agnes parish in Little Dover. From 1965-1967 he took the on the triple parishes of St. Joseph’s, Bras d’Or; St. Anne’s, Alder Point; and St. Joachim, South Side Boularderie.
During the years 1967-1970, he worked with St. FX Extension Dept. in the field of co-op housi n g , and he a l so worked in Immaculate Heart parish, Mira Road, Sydney.
In 1970, he taught English at Park Junior High, Sydney, for one year and was later appointed to Mount Carmel parish, New Waterford for six years, during which in 1972 he received his Masters of Arts Degree in psychology. In 1976, he attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. for a year studying pastoral ministry. For the next number of years he served in the parishes of Holy Family, MacKay’s Corner; St. Lawrence Parish, Mulgrave; St. Francis and St. Francis Harbour, Guysborough County; Christ the King parish, Trenton; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish, Pictou Landing; at this parish he was greatly honoured to receive from the Mi’kmaq community there, the title of Honorary Chief and given the name “White Eagle.”His last appointment was at St. Michael’s parish, River Ryan, retiring in 1998 due to health reasons. In all of his parishes he was always very active in their church choirs and their youth groups.
Throughout his life, Fr. Bill was an avid hunter, fisherman and trapper, enjoying these sports in Cape Breton, Antigonish, Pictou County and he cherished all the friendships he developed over these years. In his retirement he had several hunting expeditions with his very good friend Bobby McVeigh throughout Canada, the U.S. and the highlight was in the Scottish Highlands.
For the last number of years he was still active helping out in parishes in Pictou County.
Rev. Bill Rankin will be sadly missed by his loving family; brother Joe (Effie), Coxheath; nephew Bill (Dana) Rankin, and their family Melanie, Alexis and Matthew, from Edmonton, Alta.; niece Lisa (Fadey) Abidaoud and their family Daniel and Renee, from Doha, Qatar. He will also be missed by cousins and numerous friends.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by an infant sister, Margaret Mary.
Visitation for Fr. Bill Rankin will be held Tuesday, July 14, 2015, from 7-9 p.m. and Wednesday from 2-4 p.m., in V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, 16 Reserve St., Glace Bay. A prayer vigil will be held at St. Anne’s Church, Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The funeral mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 16, 2015, at St. Anne’s Church, Glace Bay, with Bishop Brian Dunn officiating with priests of the diocece concelebrating.
Interment will be in the parish cemetery. A luncheon will follow in the church foyer.
Memorial donations in Fr. Bill’s memory may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation or a charity of choice.
Online condolences to the family are available through www.vjmcgillivray.ca.