Richard C. Rantz
Richard C. Rantz passed away on Februry 4, 2023 at the age of 101 after living a remarkably active and personally rewarding life, and sharing over 75 years of marriage with his wife, ErmaDeanne. In accordance with his wishes, no memorial service is to be held.
Dick was born in Bremerton, Washington on October 21st , 1921 to Charles and Gladys Sanders Rantz. As a boy, Dick spent many summers with his grandfather, Thomas Sanders in Colfax, WA, and on the nearby family wheat farm that had been established by his pioneer great grandparents as an original homestead grant in 1871. After graduation from Wilson High School in Long beach California, in 1939, he attended Washington State College where he was a member of the Cougar track and field teams. Dick was outstanding in the triple jump event, and was a second place, silver medal winner at the U.S. National AAU Championships in 1941, and earned the bronze in 1942.
Early in World War II, he left WSC in his senior year to volunteer for service in the Army. Entering the Army in November 1942, he completed basic training at Camp Roberts, CA, and was selected to be an officer candidate in the Field Artillery, successfully completing Officer Candidate School in July 1943. He served in combat in Italy and in the Army of Occupation until August of 1946 when he left the service to return to Washington State College to complete his work for a Bachelors Degree in European History. At that time, he met his wife to-be, a fellow history major, ErmaDeanne Boyer. They were married after graduation in New York City at the Washington Square Methodist Church on October 18 th , 1947.
Shortly thereafter, Richard received a Regular Army Commission and was ordered to active duty in November of 1947. A military career totaling 30 years followed, with duty assignments in The U.S., Guam, Alaska, France, Germany, Vietnam, and Belgium. While in the Army, Richard earned an MBA degree at the University of Southern California in 1950 and later attended military colleges, including the Naval War College.
After retiring from the Army in October 1973 with rank of Colonel, Richard took a civilian position with the NATO Secretary General’s Executive Secretariat in Brussels where he served until January of 1980.
After moving to Bellingham in 1980, Dick and ErmaDeanne moved to Sudden Valley to make their home. In the following years they actively pursued their shared hobbies of rock and mineral and mushroom collecting and racked up many miles on their “Pop-Top Volkswagen Camper for that purpose. Especially gratifying was having all of their personal family members nearby. He greatly enjoyed their frequent gatherings and many Hawaiian vacations together.
Dick and ErmaDeanne were devoted members of the Mt Baker Rock and Gem Club for over 30 years. An avid field collector and expert lapidarist, Dick greatly enjoyed making pendants, belt buckles and other items in his shop for his friends and family members. Additionally, Dick maintained an active interest in military and international affairs and corresponded frequently by internet with former NATO and U.S. military colleagues to exchange views.
Colonel Rantz is survived by Ermadeanne, his son, Thomas C. Rantz, of Seattle, and son John R. Rantz, his wife, Mary Ann and their two sons, Jack and Rocky Rantz, of Bellingham. His family and his many friends will miss him greatly, while always remembering and being grateful for all that he contributed to them and to their lives.
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