Memorable Manitobans: Laird Forbes Rankin (1940-2017)
Born at Winnipeg on 5 December 1940, son of Forbes Allison Rankin (1913-1965) and Eyleen Elizabeth Dangerfield (1913-2000), he received Arts (1962) and Commerce (1964) degrees from the University of Manitoba. He worked for 2½ years for the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce before, in October 1967, joining the Hudson’s Bay Company to help in organizing events for its 300th anniversary. His chief responsibility was organizing the summer tours of the Nonsuch replica ship and bringing it to Winnipeg for installation at the Manitoba Museum.
In 1975, he became the Executive Director of the University of Manitoba Alumni Association and Editor of its Alumni Journal, holding the positions for 19 years until he became the founding Executive Director of Canada’s National History Society in 1994. He became the publisher of its magazine The Beaver in 1997 and retired in 2004. He volunteered with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Manitoba Historical Society, Manitoba Magazine Publishers Association, and Winnipeg Arts Council, being designated Chair Emeritus of the latter in May 2016. In recognition of his work in establishing the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History, he received the Meritorious Service Medal from Governor General Adrienne Clarkson in 2000. He wrote or co-wrote five books, receiving in 1978 a Margaret McWilliams Award for his book The Nonsuch (reissued in 2004 as Return of the Nonsuch), and was for a time a freelance broadcaster with CBC Radio.
He died suddenly at Winnipeg on 19 June 2017.
His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:
Marriage registration [Forbes Allison Rankin], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary [Forbes Allison Rankin], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 1965, page 25.
Obituary [Eyleen Elizabeth Rankin], Winnipeg Free Press, 3 August 2000.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 3 March 2023