At 87, Warrenton businessman Jim Rankin has spent his entire life and career in Fauquier County, except for his time serving our nation in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
While Mr. Rankin is best known for the businesses he operates here, he has also spent years serving the community pushing for important civic, economic and social improvements. Mr. Rankin credits hard work, his family, friends, and the community for his successes.
He was interviewed in his Warrenton office ahead of receiving the “Roland Tapscott Fauquier Good Scout Award” from the Piedmont District, National Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The event will takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Stoneridge Events Center near Warrenton.
Jim Rankin learned how to respect hard work and take care of his family on the farms where he grew up in Bealeton and Opal.
“But,” he said, “I always tell the story that when I left the farm, I didn’t leave anything there but my tracks, and I didn’t go back looking for them.”
He said that farming corn and hay and milking cows back then was a dawn to dusk effort seven days a week.
“It was very hard work and we only got half the crop. We shared it with the farmer who owned the property,” Mr. Rankin explained.
His first job as a young man away from the farm was as a carpenter’s helper.
“From there I went to work for Sander’s Quarry, where I ran a truck up and down from the pits to the top of the quarry, loading and unloading rock. After that, I ran a jackhammer, drilling holes to set dynamite,“ Mr. Rankin said. “I learned hardware working at Trenis General Store in Catlett.”
The son of Clayton P. Rankin, a decorated World War I veteran, he developed a strong sense of patriotic pride.
“My father was in the big Meuse-Argonne forest battle, the final battle of World War I,” he said. “He was a message carrier. He went through enemy lines, where they said no other man could have gotten through. He told us how the enemy was looking for him at night when he hid under brush piles, but they didn’t find him. He was able to get back to his unit and report enemy numbers and positions. He was a very determined fellow and he stood his ground. He was awarded the Silver Star for being brave and reporting back to his division.”
Following the example of his father, Jim Rankin voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951. The Korean War was being fought, and he spent most of his enlistment in the Far East, including 16 months in Korea. He was a member of the renowned 187th Airborne Division. Honorably discharged in 1954, he received service medals and badges and the rank of staff sergeant.
Joining the Army had been not an easy decision for Mr. Rankin. He comes from generations of Brethren Church members.
“The Brethren are opposed to war,” he explained. “It is good to be opposed to war. But, I believed, as did my father, that it was my duty to join the military to protect our country.”
He added that, despite this disagreement, his devotion to the Midland Brethren Church is steadfast to this day.
After his discharge from service, Mr. Rankin returned to Fauquier County where he married his wife Shirley and began his professional career. He established and continues to operate several businesses, including Rankin’s Hardware Store and Rankin’s Furniture in Warrenton and other stores in Winchester and Colonial Beach. While successful in business, Jim Rankin has never forgotten his local roots and is active to this day helping others in the community.
Mr. Rankin was involved in the integration of American Legion Post 72. That is when he met the late Roland Tapscott.
“When the Legion was first bringing in black members, Roland was among them. We both served as commanders of the post. Roland was a great and faithful Legionnaire,” Mr. Rankin said. “Roland and I spent a lot of time together and enjoyed working together. We were two of the best of friends. He was like a brother to me.”
Roland Tapscott died on Jan. 7, 2014, at his home in Warrenton. He was 91.
“I continue to be good friends with Roland’s son and his brother Stanley,” Mr. Rankin said.
Mr. Rankin was twice elected to a four-year term on the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors and was appointed to fill the unexpired term of fellow board member James Brumfield.
“I appointed Roland to the planning commission during that time,” he noted.
Mr. Rankin remains active in veteran Organizations. He has served as the commander and life member of American Legion Post 72 in Warrenton. He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1178 and a life member of 187th Airborne Association of the U.S. Army. He is a charter member and donor of the Fauquier Veterans Memorial on Hospital Hill in Warrenton and a member of the Fauquier County Armory Board.
Mr. Rankin has been a Warrenton Rotary Club member for 46 years. He is the recipient of the Paul Harris Award from Rotary International. He is a member of Fauquier Chamber of Commerce and was honored in 2013 — with Roland Tapscott and Rev. Dick Winter — with the chamber’s Valor Award “recognizing the service of military, police, fire and rescue personnel, first-responders — our fellow citizens — for doing their duty that we may all enjoy safety and freedom.”
Mr. Rankin is a founding member of Warrenton/Culpeper Elks and a past member of Warrenton-Fauquier Jaycees. He served 10 years on the Advisory Committee for the State Bank of Remington Board of Directors.
Mr. Rankin has four children, Alvin, Glenn, Beverly and Alice; eight grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren. He is always supportive of the Piedmont District Scouting Program, among other duties, often serving as a member on an Eagle Scout Review Board. Anyone who buys a Christmas tree from a Boy Scout in Warrenton probably buys it on Jim Rankin’s parking lot.
Family Owned & Operated
I have been in the furniture business for 26 years and I'm proud to stock as much made in America products as I can. Come in and see what all we have to offer here. Our goal is to make our customers happy. We only deal with manufactures that have that same goal.
James Rankin, Bio
Home Accessories & Gifts
Owner- James A. Rankin Sr.
Manager- Annie Jenkins
Sales Associate- Connie Fewell
Sales Associate - Dorris Baringer
Sales Associate- Alice Kniceley
Sales Associate & Delivery - Tom Hadler
Warehouse Manager & Delivery Specialist- Jim Hadler
Warehouse Manager & Delivery Specialist - Michael Minor
15,000 sq ft of showroom consisting of Livingroom, dining, bedroom furniture, office and occasionals.