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Waving from the Fire Truck

H. Flint Ranney

A Celebration of Life

Flint driving Fire Truck
Flint in the Navy
Young Flint
Here Comes the Bride
Three Ranney kids on the beach
Flint and Corky
All the Ranneys on the Firetruck
Flint and Corky in Monomoy
Flint playing the piano
Flint and Steamship Authority Board
Flint on the ferry

A celebration of the life of H. Flint Ranney, as told by ... H. Flint Ranney

Born: March 26, 1935, Orange, New Jersey
Died: December 21, 2012 (none too soon), Nantucket, Mass
Mother: Edith Meyer Ranney (1904-1989) Father: Harr F. Ranney (1902-1955)
Married: Charron Patricia (Corky) McPherson, in Covina, California, July 31, 1965

Charron Elizabeth Ranney Gibson
Robert Fredrik Ranney
James Terrell Ranney
Katherine Edith Ranney Sayle
Willliam McPherson Ranney

Grandchildren: Robert Tyler Ranney; Morgan Isabella Sayle; Flint Maxwell Ranney; William Caleb Sayle Alexander Charles Gibson; Jonathan Jeffrey Sayle Molly Gabrielle Ranney; Dylan Bauza; Grace McPherson Gibson; Samuel Shaw Ranney; Elvis Yelizar Ranney Finn James Ranney

Education: Mount Kemble School, Far Hills, NJ, 1941-1944;
The Peck School, Morristown, NJ, 1944-1948;
The Hill School, Pottstown, PA, 1948-1952;
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, 1952-1956: Bachelor of Arts in American History, NROTC

Military Service: United States Navy, 1952-1959 (Midshipman, Ensign, LTJG, LT); USNR ‘59-’64

H. Flint Ranney was born in New Jersey and lived in Morristown until leaving for Dartmouth College, where he where he roomed with John K. Van de Kamp. He graduated as a history major in 1956, having written his thesis on Nantucket whaling and the marine camels of 1842. He was assigned by the US Navy as a gunnery division officer aboard two aircraft carriers in the Pacific, the USS Philippine SEA (CVS 47), and the USS Ranger (CV 61). His ship captains eventually realized that his quirky sense of humor had a positive effect on his ship handling and military competence and stopped harassing him about misconduct.

Upon leaving active duty in 1959, he stayed in California, living for six years with John Van de Kamp’s family in California, enjoying many free dinners at their fine restaurants. During this time he worked at radio station KPFK in Los Angeles, and at Spectra Sound recording studio in Hollywood, before meeting and marrying Corky in 1965. Even then, Flint had a love of old cars, and owned 2 firetrucks (one stayed on the West Coast when he moved to the island), both a Model T & Model A Ford (sub- sequently brought to Nantucket) and a Rolls Royce.

After marrying, he decided it was time to find himself a real job. It seemed easy and appropriate at the time to follow his father’s footsteps as a stockbroker with Reynolds andCompany, starting in 1966 in LA, where he rose to the position of office manager from 1972-1974 and then as Regional Commodity Manager for six offices in the southwest until 1977. 

He had first visited Nantucket in utero in 1934, again at the age of three months in 1935, and he continued to visit every summer. His first job was at Yerxa’s boat yard. In 1977 the entire voted to forsake the declining quality of life in California and move to Nantucket year ‘round. They never found a better place to live. Libby was 11 at the time, and Will was three. Raising five children on Nan- tucket and having them stay around and produce eleven grandchildren was a wonderful life-long treat. Though Flint had hoped to retire on Nantucket, Barbara Denby sold the Ranneys a house in Monomoy, chosen by Corky (Flint’s mother wondered aloud why they wanted to live in a swamp), and Barbara enticed him to work at the Denbys' as a real estate broker and appraiser. Flint took over the company in 1984 and moved the office to North Water Street in 1986. The office grew, and gained reputation for integrity under his stewardship. In 2007 Flint retired and turned management of the business over to two of his children.

Considering public service as important,and as a way to give back to the community, and the island he loved, Flint got involved in many island activites. He served terms as President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and the NHA (not all at once!). He served as an electedmember of the Nantucket School Committee and the School Building Committee for nine years, insisting that a swimming pool be part of the new high school.

While President of the NHA, he also introduced over 500 new family memberships to the NHA for people who bought property through Denbys. He helped form the Friends of the NHA, serving as treasurer for more than ten years. He was a charter member of the Nantucket Association of Real Estate Brokers, bringing a new level of profesisonalism to the island’s industry. He developed the island’s original real estate listing service, was the first traditional brokerage to have a web site in 1994, and served as secretary of NAREB for many years. Flint helped his wife Corky found the Friends of Nantucket Public Schools (FONPS), and served on many other public service initiatives and Town committees, such as Revitalize Downtown Nantucket, the Traffic Safety Committee, Energy Study Committee. He served for many years as a member of the Assessor’s Advisory Committee. He became a Rotarian in 1978, serving as secretary, president, and then as treasurer for 26 years. Participating in the Meals on Wheels program was a special treat. A life long phtotographer and chronicler of events, he became photographer member of the Artists’ Association in 1978. Flint was usually a vocal participant in Annual Town Meeting proceedings, where he was famous for having at least one article which he had deemed to be “the worst idea I have ever heard.” For more than 20 years, Flint assisted the Tupancy Foundation in granting over $20 million to Nantucket non-profit groups. He served for a number of years as a director of Nantucket Electric Company, participating in the conversion of the island’s power from diesel generators to an undersea cable. He was a director of Nantucket Bank until it was taken over by Sovereign Bank, was treasurer of the Wharf Rat Club. And one of the many island firsts he was proud of, was his installation of solar collectors on the roof of his Monomoy home was one of the first on the Island, saving many gallons of oil over the years.

From 1976 on, the Dartmouth Class of 1956 allowed Flint to write their Class Newsletter six to 12 times a year, and to set up and manage the Class website, keeping classmates informed of each other’s doings and helping to generate interest in returning to Hanover for class reunions.

As a real estate appraiser he also wrote newspaper columns and magazine articles, did interviews about Nantucket real estate and was the first to keep track of property sales statistics for other real estate brokers and appraisers. He has amassed extensive sales data back to 1980.

In 1978 with the late Jean MacAusland he co-originated the Nantucket Daffodil Parade, leading it almost every year with his former-Nantucket 1927 American LaFrance Quadruple Combination City Service Ladder truck since. And in 1980 Flint challenged the Nantucket Fire Department to a July 4th water fight on Main Street. Never imagining either would become the event it has become today. This became an annual, well-attended part of the traditional July 4th visitor celebration on the island. In 2006 he transferred ownership of “Grover” to his son, Rob, who has continued the tradition.  Fire engine red was his favorite color, evidenced in his life-long propensity for wearing red socks, “Nantucket Red” trousers, as well as the ubiquitous bow tie and, when allowed by Corky, a red or pink sweater. His grandchildren often played with his extensive collection of small model fire trucks.

In the summer of 1965, he even used the firetruck to introduce his new bride to Nantucket via firetruck, pick ing the newly refurbished truck up in New Bedford, and driv ing to the Cape and on to Nan tucket via the Steamship, causing a minor sensation. 

In addition to the joy he took in his wife and family, one of his other great joys was as a member of the Board of the Steamship Authority. Following Grace Grossman’s footsteps, Flint became Nantucket Member of the Steamship Authority starting in 2004, working to improve the boatline’s conditions and customer service. One of his proudest achievements while serving on the Board, was the retrieval and installation of the old Nobska steam- whistle, onto the MV Eagle. The Nobska, one of the last steamships to serve the islands, was a symbol of days gone by, of the heart of a busy island life, and its distinctive sound can be heard for miles around the island. A treat for Islanders and visitors alike.

Flint loved to laugh. He also loved his wife, children, and grandchildren and is optimistic about seeing them again in a different place, hopefully with the other angels. He appreciates your coming to his funeral and is most
apologetic about not being able to attend yours.