West Michigan Mid-Sixties News

RIP Ken Rank

Sad news, Ken Rank of "Twin City Saucers" fame (Fenton 2194) passed away Sunday, June 20, 2004, in a Tulsa hospital, after suffering complications from a lung transplant.

From the Fort Smith Times Record's obituary:

Ken Rank, a well known TV/Radio personality, passed away Sunday, June 20, 2004, in a Tulsa hospital, after suffering complications from a lung transplant. Ken was born in Memphis. Along with his family he moved to Mountain Home, then to West Plains, Mo., where he graduated from high school as a record-breaking running back and an all-star baseball player for the West Plains Zizzers. After serving five years in the Navy as a medic, he began his career as a radio disc jockey in Fort Smith at KTCS Radio. Commander Ken worked at various radio stations over his career, including KRMG in Tulsa, where he was voted one of the top disc jockeys in the United States by Broadcast Magazine. Ken returned to Fort Smith and became the weather man for Channel 40/29 in 1983. Ken was also known for being the spokesperson for several northwest Arkansas businesses. He was active in the community and participated in numerous fund-raising events for local and regional charities. Ken also served on the board of advisers for St. Edward Mercy Medical Center in Fort Smith. After working 10 years as a weather man, Ken left to start his own company, VideoBase, a video production company. He produced a travel/human interest show, ďKenís Window,Ē which aired on KFSM Channel 5 for several years. As an avid Razorback fan, Ken along with his wife, Debbie, founded the RoadHog Club, an RV booster club for the University of Arkansas that today has over 300 members. Ken and his family moved to Tulsa in 1996. Kenís video production business continued to grow in the Tulsa area where he produced TV commercials and furnished video for multiple broadcast outlets including the Weather Channel and CNN. Kenís commitment to charities continued in Tulsa, where he provided video production for Therapedics and Dillon International, an international adoption agency. Ken was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in December 2002 and was placed on the waiting list for a lung transplant at Vanderbuilt Medical Center in June 2003. Ken researched information on lung and other organ transplants and vowed to become active in promoting organ donation and transplants. Ken received a right lung transplant Jan. 9, 2004, a date he called his re-birthday. The lung transplant was successful, and Ken returned to Tulsa to continue his recuperation and rehabilitation. Rejection is a major concern in all organ transplants. Complications with rejection issues caused Kenís new lung to fail. Ken was preceded in death by his father, S.W. Rank, and his mother, Paula Sweatt Rank. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; daughters Sarah and Katie of the home, Jennifer of McAlester, and Melinda Gough of Fort Smith; son Brian of Fort Smith; seven grandchildren; and his sister, Meg Rank of Fort Smith.
Memorial services will be held at Floral Haven Family Center in Broken Arrow, Okla., on Thursday, June 24, 2004 at 9 a.m.
Pallbearers will be Bob Kale, Steve Wallace, Carl Lund, Steve Berry, Jack Parnell and Ronnie Kaye. Honorary pallbearer will be Joe Henderson.
Funeral service will be held in Christ the King Catholic Church in Fort Smith on Thursday, June 24, 2004, at 3 p.m. with burial at Woodlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home of Fort Smith.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Patients Assistance Fund, Vanderbuilt University Medical Center, Lung Transplant Program, 913 Oxford House, Nashville, TN 37232.

Thanks to Jack Parnell for letting us know.

Last updated on June 23, 2004.

I remember Ken on TV and commander Ken on KLCO radio Poteau oklahoma, I just ran across this on the internet. I tink about hinmfrom time to time how funny he could be at times.

Brian KIng
Austin,TX formley of Fort Smith, ARK And Spiro, OKLAHOMA

Posted by: brian king at January 14, 2009 11:00 PM

I just ran across this on the net. I knew Ken from the NW Arkansas area. We worked a lot of promotions together for car dealearships, etc. Ken was an intelligent and funny man and a hoot to be around. Once, at a promotion, Ken was standing by the roadside and on the air. Another mutual fried (a police officer)coasted up right behind Ken and hit his siren. Ken said later that he hoped the FCC wasn't listening as he was very unsure of what oath he just screamed through the microphone, but he was sure he would find out from his employers Monday morning! He was a good man who I respected and I have very fond memories of Ken. I am very sorry to read of his passing. May he rest in peace.

Posted by: Daryl Price at August 29, 2009 02:13 AM

Hey guys im CHRIS Ken's oldest son and it looks like at 43 im about to take the plunge and follow in dads footsteps ..i was on TV for a while so im kinda doing it backwards...LOL im now gonna pick up the broadcast mic at a station in little rock Arkansas...thanks so much for the kind words they are greatly appreciated ...
Chris Rank

Posted by: Chris Rank at September 13, 2009 03:02 PM

I remember Ken doing the weather when I lived in Northwest Arkansas. He was the wittiest and most entertaining personality on the air. I recall one day he predicted an ice storm and said the roads would "be slicker than mayonnaise on a doorknob". I laughed so many times when he was on the air. he made watching news not only bearable, but enjoyable.

Posted by: Colby Bauer at November 14, 2009 01:44 PM

Wow, what a shocker! Just found the news about Mr. Ranks passing. What a loss. He was a very entertaining person. Anybody else remember the stock car racing song he did waaaay back? Had the story of him racing against Wendell Brewer. Anybody?

Posted by: bob white at May 2, 2010 06:50 PM

I'm glad you posted this reminder. While you all are voting I hope you'll cast one vote for Tonto and the Renegades. And, one other MUST do for youe vote to count is you must also vote for 10 songs. If you don't vote for 10 of each, you're ballot will not be counted.

Posted by: tom kirby at May 3, 2010 06:17 AM

Sorry, I didn't mean to post the voting reminder on this thread.

Posted by: tom kirby at May 3, 2010 06:22 AM

I, too, just came across this information about Ken Rank. I used to listen to him on the Poteau station when I lived in Fort Smith back in the 70's. I thought he had the best show with good, clean original humor and always funny. Loved The Boss and the cast of characters on the show. Have yet to hear anything like it since. Hated that he left his show but got to see him doing local weather, which almost made up for it. Sorry I missed the stock car racing song, I bet it was good.

So sorry to hear of his passing, and wish the best to his family and especially Chris in following in the same career.

Posted by: Pip at May 7, 2010 02:34 PM

I'm nearly 60-years-old and have listened to many, many radio DJs in my day and nobody even comes close to Ken Rank. The man was sooo funny and a phenom when it came to keeping his listener's attention. I spent some 8 years behind the mike myself and tried at times to emulate some of Ken's methods and one-liners. But he was in a class all his own. He was also one helluva TV weatherman as well. I always looked forward to his show on KLCO in Poteau and have many, many fond memories of Commander Ken and His Cast of Idiots! No one will EVER come close to Ken Rank. He was the best!

Posted by: William Landrum at January 13, 2011 07:49 AM

I worked with Ken at the race track north of Van Buren for many years. Ken was the track announcer and I was the flagman. He knew how to entertain the race fans by picking on me and other track officials in a good clean family fun way. Ken gave me one of the first records he made about CCS and I still have and play it just to hear his comedian style voice. Ken was a class act.

Posted by: Randy Gann at January 26, 2011 01:41 PM

I served with Ken in the navy, while he was stationed at the anphib base in San Diego. He got his start in radio while stationed on Midway Island. He had miles of film, featuring Goony Birds taking off and landing. There wasn't much else to do on Midway. I lost track of Ken when I transfered to other duties. He was having problems with the Navy over an injury to his hand. Tried to find him many times over the years, so sad to learn of his passing. I am glad he had a succesful life.

Posted by: Jack Hopson at September 6, 2011 03:26 AM

Ken Rank was my best friend and husband for 20 years. Our marriage produced two beautiful daughters, much laughter, much happiness and wonderful memories. And while Ken had other children from 2 previous marriages, there was no Chris Rank. Ken's son is in the military and is currently serving in Kuwait. He was and I'm sure still is, his father's pride and joy. Now there are several grandchildren that I wish he were here to enjoy but I know his spirit is still with us. I find myself repeating his old jokes and one liners and he must smile everytime.
I am remarried now and life goes on but Ken will forever be in my heart. I would love to hear any of the old stories about Ken if you would post them here, I will check back from time to time.

Posted by: Debbie Rank-Morgan at September 22, 2011 04:12 PM

My Dad was hi friend from West Plains

Posted by: Tim Langston at July 24, 2012 03:04 AM


Posted by: Tim Langston at July 24, 2012 03:05 AM

Ken was my program director in Fort Smith and was a good jock. While working at KLCO Photeau,Oklahoma, he had a weekly report from the mayor at 9am.

I was visiting him one morning and when the mayor came in, after Ken started the show, we went across the street to a coffee shop, leaving no one watching the program. I said "Ken, what if something breaks down?" He replied...."ain't nothing to break down but the mayor." Very funny guy.

Posted by: Paul Bottoms at July 5, 2013 01:59 PM

JM5FRt Awesome article.Much thanks again.

Posted by: link building at September 7, 2013 09:21 PM

When I was a little girl our class (in Muldrow, OK) got to be in a coats for kids commercial with Mr. Rank. He was very kind and it was exciting to meet him. I was googling looking for commercial when I found this blog. I'm sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Lori Freeman at December 11, 2013 11:39 PM

Loved "Commander Ken and His Cast of Idiots"
Lots of good childhood memories! :)
Thank you Commander Ken, RIP

Posted by: Lisa T at February 2, 2014 10:40 PM

I was born with cerebly palsy. I have had many surgery's to make it to where I could walk. One year Mr. Rank came to the hospital and seen me and gave me a calendar I still have to this day. He has put strength in my life and memory's in my life no one could ever replace. Thank you Mr. Rank

Posted by: Jeff sides at February 6, 2014 11:28 PM

I am Sarah, Kens daughter. Thank you to everyone who posts stories about my Dad! It's been almost 10 years since he passed away but I still miss him terribly. I love looking on here and still seeing people posting things.

Posted by: Sarah (Rank) Rogoish at April 5, 2014 06:48 PM

Commander Was the best JD ever bar none, we will all miss his cast of idiots, including the boss.
Best wishes to his family

Posted by: Rusty at June 20, 2014 06:28 PM

We were neighbors at Caulfield, MO, when we were in high school. Kenneth's folks lived in and owned "The Big Store" there in Caulfield. We rode the school bus in to the big city of West Plains, where we attended high school together and even dated a few times. He was such fun, had a great sense of humor. I have often wondered what happened to him. So sorry to read of his passing.

Posted by: Jeanie Patillo Smith at September 18, 2014 02:00 PM
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