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Published: Saturday, 2/14/2009

Physician known for surgical skills

Dr. John B. Rank, 85, a leading Toledo abdominal surgeon who retired early to see the world, died of leukemia Tuesday at his home in North Palm Beach, Fla.

The onetime Toledo Hospital chief of surgery was in practice with the late Dr. W. LeRoy Bryant, a surgeon and administrative director of the hospital medical staff.

"I hear all the time, 'Your father was a wonderful, wonderful surgeon,'•" Dr. Rank's daughter, Lacey Fix, said. "He did take his profession very seriously, and a lot of people said he retired too early."

He retired after Dr. Bryant's death in February, 1977.

"He was recently remarried, and they wanted to travel, and that's about the time of malpractice insurance increasing and things in the medical field started changing," his daughter said.

In 1975, Dr. Rank married Elizabeth Bentley Stranahan, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Spitzer and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bentley. The couple settled into the former Frank D. Stranahan estate on East River Road in Perrysburg Township.

By 1986, they made North Palm Beach their home, but stayed each summer in a Perrysburg Township place they kept, his daughter said. They traveled extensively in Europe. He golfed at the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach.

Born in Marquette, Mich., he knew from early in life that he wanted to be a physician.

"He was driven to be a better person," his daughter said.

After World War II, of which he was a Navy veteran, he married the former Nancy Sherman, whom he had known in Marquette. The marriage ended in divorce. She died in November, 2000.

He was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War. A medical graduate of Northwestern University, his internship and residency were at Toledo Hospital.

Surviving are his wife, Elizabeth Bentley Stranahan Rank, whom he married May 3, 1975; son, John B. Rank III; daughter, Lacey R. Fix; stepson, Duane Stranahan III; stepdaughters, Sarah Stranahan-Richardson and Page Armstrong, and 11 grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services in the Toledo area will be scheduled later. The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio; St. Michael's In The Hills Episcopal Church, or Rotary Club of Toledo.

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