IRVINGTON—Sallie Baber Rankin, 100, died December 29, 2019, at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury in Irvington, a place she loved and among the friends she cherished.
Sallie was born in Hatton, the daughter of Luther and Florrie Baber. Their farmhouse sat on a hill overlooking cow pastures and the James River.
Sallie graduated from the University of Virginia School of Nursing and proudly served three years as a Navy nurse. In the Navy, she met Jim Rankin, the love of her life. They exchanged vows in a small ceremony in Coronado, Calif., and would be happily married 51 years.
Sallie was a member of Grace Episcopal Church where she served on the vestry and was president of the Women of Grace. She was active in the Northern Neck-Middlesex Free Health Clinic, the Rappahannock Garden Club and the White Stone Women’s Club.
Into her 90s, Sallie wowed everyone by working out five days a week at the exercise center. Her resolve and positive outlook were an inspiration.
What was her secret to living to 100? Was it always reading one book after another after another? Was it all the bridge games she played well into her 90s? Was it the Rummikub games she played with friends up until her final weeks? Was it never, ever missing a Sunday phone call with her son? And what about all that exercise? Or maybe, just maybe, was it that cocktail she poured every day at five o’clock sharp?
Nah. All of that certainly contributed to Sallie’s longevity, but it didn’t account for all of it. It’s most likely she lived to be 100 because she had such a wonderful life she didn’t want to leave it. So many great friends, so much deep love from her family. Sallie Rankin was one very happy person.
She is survived by her brother, Ralph Baber; son, Bill Rankin; daughter-in-law Carol Rankin; grandchildren, James and Sylvia Rankin; and step-grandson, Errol Zinkand.
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, January 17, at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Northern Neck-Middlesex Free Health Clinic.