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Elizabeth Bentley Rank dies at 87

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    Elizabeth Bentley Rank, formerly Elizabeth Stranahan, with Duane Stranahan lll, 4 years old, Sarah, 3 years old and Page, 3 weeks old. Toledo Blade file photo by Herral Long dated May 8, 1956

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    Duane and Elizabeth Stranahan, Jr. Toledo Blade file photo Marty Reichenthal dated April 12 1960

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    John rank and Elizabeth (Betty) Stranahan engagement. Toledo Blade file photo by Lee Merkle dated April 2 1975

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Elizabeth “Betty” Bentley Rank, whose first marriage tied together four prominent Toledo families, died Monday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg. She was 87.

She was born March 9, 1930, to James Bentley and Jane Spitzer Bentley in Perrysburg. The A. Bentley & Sons Co. was founded in the late 1800s by Anderton Bentley, who emigrated from Yorkshire, England, and was responsible for the construction of many Toledo landmarks, including the Toledo Museum of Art, the Nicholas Building, the Secor Hotel, and Toledo Hospital.

The Spitzer family founded the city’s first prominent investment bank, Spitzer & Co., in the 1880s. The family also constructed the city’s first steel skyscraper, the Spitzer Building at Madison Avenue and Huron Street, as well as the Nicholas Building on the opposite side of the intersection.

Mrs. Rank married Duane “Pat” Stranahan, Jr. in August, 1952. The Stranahan family founded the Champion Spark Plug Co., which until 1961, was the Ford Auto Co.’s sole supplier of spark plugs.

Mr. Stranahan’s maternal great-grandfather was James Secor, who became manager of the successful grocer Secor, Berdan & Ketcham. Afterward, Mr. Secor also helped organize institutions such as the Union Safe Deposit and Trust Co., the Union Savings Bank, and the Woolson Spice Co.

The couple had three children — Duane III, Sarah, and Page — and divorced after nearly 22 years in May, 1974. Mrs. Rank then married Dr. John B. Rank, a surgeon at Toledo hospital, in May, 1975. He died in 2009.

Mrs. Rank attended grade school at Perrysburg public schools and Maumee Valley Country Day School before attending high school at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. She majored in political economics at Smith College, where she was a member of the Glee Club, and graduated in 1952.

She was a member of the Perrysburg Garden Club, volunteered at the Way Public Library, and was a docent at the Toledo Museum of Art. She was also a member of the London Ladies Club, a group of friends who enjoyed annual expeditions to London. She and Dr. Rank traveled together and enjoyed winters in North Palm Beach, Fla.

Mrs. Rank is survived by her children Duane Stranahan III, Sarah Stranahan, and Page Armstrong; step-children Lacey Fix and John Rank, Jr.; and 11 grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 871 West Boundary St., Perrysburg. A private burial will be held at Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. Funeral arrangements were managed by Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts in Mrs. Rank’s memory be made to the Toledo Museum of Art.

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