Thomas M. Rankin, 80, a retired Army colonel who served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, died Jan. 4 at Montgomery General Hospital in Olney after a heart attack.
Col. Rankin, a Rockville resident, served in the Army during the Korean War and returned to active duty soon after graduating from law school in 1958. He served 20 years in the Army, including service in West Berlin and the Dominican Republican.
His final active-duty assignment was at Fort Detrick, in Frederick County. In retirement he owned and operated a general law practice in Reidsville, N.C., for nine years. He continued to live part time in the Washington area while practicing law before returning to the area full time.
Thomas McCargo Rankin was born in Greensboro, N.C., and raised in Reidsville. He was a 1954 economics graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also went to law school.
He was an elder and deacon at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. His other memberships included the Rotary Club, the Scottish Rite and the Montgomery County Civil War Round Table, which he helped start.
He wrote three Civil War books, including books about the 23rd and 37th Virginia infantry regiments and Stonewall Jackson’s military campaign in Romney, W.Va.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Rachel Mixson Rankin of Rockville; two children, Roxanne Lineberry of Charlotte and Thomas Rankin Jr. of Ponte Vedra, Fla.; and a granddaughter.