Leon William “Bill” Rank, 99, passed away peacefully on Aug. 22, 2021, at the home he shared with his son and daughter-in-law in Austin, Texas. He was born to Willard Rank and Lena (Schrell) Rank on Nov. 3, 1921, in Little Falls, New York. Bill and his late wife Marilyn were long-time residents of Clifton Park, New York.
Bill began studying mechanical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts in 1940. He interrupted his college education in 1942 to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps (the predecessor organization to the U.S. Air Force) during World War II. After active-duty military service, he completed his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University in 1947.
During World War II, Bill was a pilot and served in the Burma-China-India theater. He flew C-47’s and B-24’s converted for carrying cargo from an air base in India, over the Himalaya Mountains, to China.
Prior to his deployment overseas, Bill married Marilyn Elizabeth Field in 1944 in a military wedding at Maxwell Field (now Maxwell Air Force Base) in Montgomery, Alabama. They were married for 71 years prior to Marilyn’s passing in 2016.
Bill worked for General Electric Company for 37 years in test engineering, production control, and business information systems in Lynn, Massachusetts; Schenectady, New York; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and Bloomington, Illinois. He was a pioneer at GE in using mainframe computers for business functions. He retired from GE in Schenectady, New York in 1984. Following his retirement, Bill served as a Board member of the Schenectady City Mission for six years, where he introduced computer business systems to the organization.
For many years, Bill and Marilyn spent summers at Harvey’s Lake in Barnet, Vermont, and winters in Hudson, Florida. Bill and Marilyn enjoyed traveling, dancing, and playing golf and bridge with friends.
Bill is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Judy and Dennis Vander Hook of West Hills, California; his son and daughter-in-law, James and Sheryl Rank of Austin, Texas; granddaughter Elizabeth Uhrig of Goleta, California; grandson Michael Todd Vander Hook of Austin, Texas; granddaughter Shelby Meyer of Cedar Park, Texas; and granddaughter Kaitlyn Rank of Cary, North Carolina. Bill is also survived by three great-granddaughters and several nieces and nephews.
Bill was a long-time member of Jonesville United Methodist Church in Clifton Park, New York. For the past five years, he attended Bethany United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas.
A memorial service will be held at Bethany United Methodist Church, Austin, Texas. Burial will occur in Vermont in the summer of 2022.
Donations in memory of Leon William “Bill” Rank may be made to:
City Mission of Schenectady
P.O. Box 760
Schenectady, NY 12301
Arrangements were provided by Cook-Walden Chapel of the Hills in Austin, Texas.