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  • "Doug was an important mentor and adviser. I will fondly..."
    - Greg Walsh
  • "Doug was essential to completing my Masters thesis by..."
    - Ian Putnam
  • "I fondly remember Doug from many NEIGC trips. He assisted..."
    - David Putnam
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    - Steve & Elizabeth Girard
  • "We will always remember when we saw Doug at our property in..."
    - Steve & Elizabeth
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'ANKIN Dr. DOUGLAS W. RANKIN "Doug" Died Wednesday, February 25, 2015, at the age of 83. He was a long-time DC resident and beloved husband for 59 years of Mary Louise Backus Rankin; loving father of Katharine and Andrea Rankin, and uncle to a close nephew, John Rankin. He is also survived by four grandchildren, James, Lea, Niku and Sam. Dr. Rankin received a BA cum laude in Geology from Colgate University in 1953, and a MA (1955) and Ph.D. (1961) from Harvard University. He had a 53-year long career as a research geologist-mostly with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)-which he blended with a love of woods, mountains and water that began in his childhood. He is internationally renown as a synthesizer of Appalachian geology, based on extensive fieldwork oriented to understanding tectonics and paleovolcanism. His lifelong career was devoted to investigating the complex bedrock of the Appalachian Mountains from Maine south to North Carolina, beginning with his Ph.D. research on rhyolites in Baxter State Park in Maine (1955-1961), and ending with an ambitious 23-year long project investigating the geology of the upper Connecticut River valley in New Hampshire and Vermont (1992-2014). Nineteen of these lat- ter years were spent in "retirement' as an Emeritus Scientist. Doug's quest to unravel the complex ancient geologic history of the earth led him to spend long periods of time in some of the most beautiful and remote places on the planet. He loved to hike mountain ridges, swim in lakes and streams, and nap in the sun after lunch. These passions developed early in life while hiking with his father, Carl, mother, Helen, and brother, Bruce, and subsequently while maintaining trails as a member of the Appalachain Mountain Club (AMC) Trail Crew. Later, he was accompanied for most of his geologic fieldwork by his wife, Dr. Mary Louise B. Rankin, a China historian, who developed her own competence in geology. Together Doug and Mary cared for a cherished woodland property in Hillsdale, New York and maintained deep ties to the White Mountains, NH and the AMC, where they met. Doug also loved maps; he collected them and he also created them-geologic maps, by hand using ink and colored pencils. He always sought to collaborate with others, and took pleasure in mentoring junior colleagues. Doug will be fondly remembered for his determined and high-spirited commitment to pursue a vocation, to blend his career into all facets of life, and most of all to unite this love with his devoted marriage and family life. Memorial services and reception will be held 12 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, May 3, 2015 at the Cosmos Club, 2121 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Dr. Rankin's name may be made to [a] the Appalachian Mountain Club at 5 Joy Street, Boston, MA 02108 or via their website at; or [b] the Alzheimer's Foundation of America at 322 8th Avenue, 7th Floor, NY, NY 10001 or fundraisers/memorial1.aspx.; or [c] the Geological Society of America Foundation, of which he was a past Trustee, at PO Box 9140 Boulder CO 80301 or

Published in The Washington Post on Mar. 15, 2015
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