Johnny Cheral (JC) Rankin, Sr.

1950 ~ 2023

With family by his side, Johnny Cheral (JC) Rankin, Sr. departed from this life and went to be with his Lord and Savior on August 29, 2023, while at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT. He was 73 years old. JC was born February 6, 1950, in Columbia, MS, the second child and first son of John Robert Devin Rankin and Effie Mae (Baker) Rankin. JC was a strong man of faith who diligently studied scripture. He loved his family above all, and his closest friends were like family to him.

JC spent most of his childhood years growing up and attending school in MS. He was an avid fan of the western movies of his childhood and vowed that he would head west when he became a man. That dream was temporarily put on hold when he enlisted in the USMC during the Vietnam conflict.

When JC was medically discharged, he returned to MS and to the love of his life, Cheryl Ann Luke. They married in Fontainebleau, MS in 1970, and spent the next 53 years together. He was a loving and loyal husband who had a fierce devoted love for his wife.

JC did eventually follow his childhood dream, and the young couple migrated westward. JC was a man of several occupations along the way. He became a journeyman pipefitter/welder, and gradually worked his way up to be an Assistant Project Field Engineer with a major corporation. JC loved his job, but it required a lot of traveling and with two young children they decided to settle in Colstrip, MT long enough for their kids to finish school. JC took a job as deputy sheriff there.

They eventually ended up settling in Savage, MT, where JC continued to work as a deputy. When he retired from law enforcement JC opened his own leather shop where he built saddles, holsters, and other leather gear. His custom leatherwork was sold all over the US and abroad.
JC was the nucleus of the family, and his untimely passing has left a huge void in our hearts. We mourn for our loss, but also look forward to the joyful reunion we’ll have when our time comes to join him. Leave it to JC to lead the way, once again, into another new horizon!

JC is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl; children Johnny (Shawna) Rankin and Brianna Rankin; grandchildren Jessey Rankin, Shay Rankin, and Braden Feisthamel; great-grandchildren Ahri Gorton and Oliver Weber; siblings Joye Lynn (Rankin) Fountain and Dwayne Rankin; three nephews and two nieces.

A Celebration of Life will be held on October 14, 2023, at 1:00 pm in the Yellowstone Community Church in Savage, MT. It will be a casual get-together potluck with meat, rolls and beverages provided. We ask attendees to please bring a salad, side dish, or dessert.


I give my condenses to my Aunt Cheryl she lost a piece of her that day. My cousins, I am so sorry I cant be there; know I love you all and my heart breaks. You are all in my prayers. You are missed already so much. I wish i could have gotten to spend more time with you. Ill never forget your laugh and how you made me laugh when I was a kid. Even though you were so far apart I always felt loved. You were an Awesome Uncle. Xoxo

- Rochelle (Rankin)Selvey

To my special cousin I wish I could have been able to see you again but God had other plans for you. I will miss your sweet texts that you would send me I go back and read them and have a good feeling for the rest of that day. I love you and will miss you go ride in the clouds with your horse. Praying for the family

- Ann Webster

May you Rest in Peace Johnny… we love & miss you… Give Jesus & Charise a hug for us ;)
Thank you for all the times you called and checked on me after Charise passed in 2015.

- William F Kraemer & Stephanie

So sorry for your families loss

- Abbie