Long-time Turlock resident and building contractor John Rankin Wallace passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of October 26. Known as "Rankin," he built many homes in the "Bettencourt Estates", "La Mesa Park" and "Peacock Estates" sections of Turlock.
Born in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada to George and Lucy Wallace, Rankin grew up on the family farm, worked at the local feed mill and loved riding his shetland pony "Dandy." Rankin's family emigrated to California in 1928 settling in the LeGrand area, where he continued his schooling, graduating from LeGrand High School in 1936 where he played on the football and basketball teams. He worked on the family farm and eventually moved to Fresno where he was naturalized in 1939 as an American citizen and apprenticed in carpentry and electrical work. In 1942 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as and Air Operations Specialist while stationed at Merced Army Air Field (Castle Air Force Base) and in the Philippines. On June 11, 1944 he married Beverly Hallner of Turlock. After discharge from the military in 1946 Rankin and Beverly settled in Turlock where he resumed his earlier carpentry career path, eventually getting his contractor's license and beginning to purchase tracts of land and develop subdivisions in Turlock and custom homes throughout Stanislaus and Merced Counties. He built and managed the Garden Court apartments on Colorado Ave. for many years. He also built a houseboat in his backyard, launching it on Lake Don Pedro in 1975, providing family and friends with many hours and days of relaxing fun on the lake.
Rankin was a member of: The Turlock Rotary Club and was a Paul Harris Fellow; Modesto Chapter of the National Association of Homebuilders and was named "Builder of the Year" in 1970; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and later the First Christian Church of Turlock.
He was preceded in death by Beverly, his wife of 64 years. He is survived by his four sons and their spouses: David and Kay Wallace of Turlock; Brian and Vicki Wallace of Elk Grove; Mark Wallace of Turlock; Matt and Margie Wallace of Vacaville. Grandchildren: Megan and Chris McGowan of Venita, OR; Caroline and Carl Stenzel of Portland, OR.; Eric and Laci Wallace of Turlock; Cristi and Rick Fuhs of Elk Grove; Andrew Wallace of Palm Beach, FL.; Aaron and Salina Littleton of Santa Rosa; Jared Littleton of San Francisco; Chelsey Littleton of Los Angeles; Ian Wallace of Vacaville. Great-grandchildren: Bella Fuhs of Elk Grove, and Aria Stenzel of Portland, OR.
Private interment will take place at Turlock Memorial Park followed by a memorial service to be held on Nov. 19 at 10:30 AM at First Christian Church, 180 S. Denair Ave., Turlock.
Saturday, November 12, 2011