Clarence Rank, lifelong railway worker, dies at 91
Cpl. Clarence Rank, a lifetime railway worker in the mufti as well as during his overseas service during the Korean War, died on June 7. Resident of Lakeview Terrace in Altoona, he was 91 years old.
Like a smart handful of those whose conscription status made war inevitable, Clarence had a say in his mission by initiating the conversation about the specialty of working with the US military.
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Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Navy. Mike Merrill, a good friend of Clarence and another parishioner of St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church in Eustis, called the Green Bay native “original” who also acquired ancillary functions as a Catholic chaplain assistant on rail.
This additional mission put the chaplain – and Clarence – in the position to cheer on dozens of soldiers as they made their way to the war zone.
“He helped many of his comrades, Catholic and otherwise, prepare for the difficult challenges ahead,” Merrill said.
Mike reported that on the day of the burial at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell on June 18, the funeral party for limited family and friends was delayed at the Highway 44 / I-75 junction … by a train.
“We took him as Clarence signaling that he was safe and on his way to a new destination,” the colonel said. “And her brother and I agreed with the decision to engrave ‘All Aboard’ on Clarence’s gravestone.”
– Major Kurt “Buzzard” Miller, LZ LAKEHAWK resident helicopter pilot and director of tactical aviation, was featured in the Combat Aircraft Journal this spring. It got cover and was quoted extensively throughout the venerable CH-46 helicopter tribute piece. Entitled “Desert Phrogs”, Chris Croot’s article highlighted Buzzard’s affection for the old Sea Stallion, which Miller chose as a bird when a Salt Leatherneck pilot said “if you want to stay close to the Marines on the ground, this is the one you want to fly. “
–We are looking for Lake and Sumter County Veterans who have been assigned to ceremonial service level units, for example, Old Guard, 8th and Me, et al, for a future DAILY COMMERCIAL feature or two. LAKEHAWK is also on the lookout for those who have performed in America’s top military musical units.
Please email [email protected] if you would like to share some of these unique experiences with our readers. And thanks to two of our favorite US Army NCOs – Steve Corbett and Kevin Cottrell – for serving as volunteer consultants on this particular project!