News From The Ninth Arch

Passing of MIC Richard Rankin, 1932-2023

Past Most Illustrious Grand Master Pin

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Richard Rankin (Dillon, Montana), born in Mingo, Iowa, who passed away on September 15, 2023, at the age of 90, leaving to mourn family and friends. You can send your sympathy in the guestbook provided and share it with the family.

He was predeceased by : his parents, Tom Rankin and Flossie Rankin. He is survived by : his wife Donna Balkovetz; and his daughters, Peri Suenram (Andy) of Dillon, Richelle Galiger (Robert) of Three Forks and Rita Principe of Billings.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 11th 2023 at 11:00 AM at the Brundage Funeral Home (300 S Atlantic St, Dillon, MT 59725).


Richard J. Rankin was elected and installed Most Illustrious Grnad Master of Montana, Grand Council of Cryptic Masons, in Great Falls at the 92nd Annual Assembly, June 9, 2001.

Richard was born September 27, 1932 in Mingo, Iowa, the fifth child to Tom and Flossie Rankin. Richard had four brothers and five sisters, and the family moved to Montana in 1936. They settled in Whitehall Montana, and they bought a ranch further south in the Madison Valley near Ennis, Montana. Richard entered the schools in Ennis and graduated from Ennis High School in 1951. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, and upon his discharge he enrolled in Billings Business College. Following graduation, he went to work for a C.P.A. firm in Billings, and then moved back to Ennis where he established his own accounting/insurance firm in 1962. Richard then met and subsequently married Donna Balkovetz in 1962. He owned insurance and real estate business in Dillon and Ennis while raising Appaloosa horses for many years. Their family consists of three daughters; Peri, Suenram, Shelly Galiger, and Rita Principe, who with their husbands have provided them with eight precious grandchildren.

Richard was raised in Montana Lodge No. 2 at Ennis on May 7, 1964, and he was Master in 1970. He served as Master of Dillon N. 16 in 1976, and has served that Lodge as Instructor for over eighteen years.

He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in Dillon Chapter No. 8 on May 18, 1971; served as High Priest in 1976, 1978, and 1992. He received the Merit Apron, 1993, and General Grand Chapter Bronze Award in 1996. Richard was greeted a Cryptic Mason on March 6, 1972 in Virginia City Council No. 12; served as Illustrious Master in 1976, 1977, and 1979. He was given the Super Excellent Degree in 1986 and appointed Council Instructor in 1991. He received the Apron of Esteem in 1995. He served as Grand Chaplain for Montana Grand Council in 1990; appointed Grand Sentinel in 1996; and was elected Most Illustrious Grand Master in 2001 at Great Falls.

Richard J. Rankin was dubbed and created a Knight Templar on May 7, 1972 in St. Elmo Commandery No. 7 and served as Eminent Commander in 1976. He was elected Recorder from 1980-1992. He was elected Treasurer, 1994-2001, and was appointed Instructor of St. Elmo No. 7 from 1980 to date. He was appointed Grand Sentinel of Montana Grand Commandery in 1996 and was elected Grand Captain General on June 7, 2001 in Great Falls.

Richard is a member of Montana Order of High Priesthood; Order of the Silver Trowel; Past Commander\’s Association; Alled Masonic Degrees; Red Cross of Constantine; Big Sky York Rite College No. 74; and Yellowstone No. 107, York Rite College, having served as Govenor of Yellowstone College in 1998. He has received the Grand Cross of Colors from the Order of the Rainbow for Girls and is a member of Mitpah Chapter No. 13, Order of the Eastern Star, in Dillon, having served as Worthy Patron, 1987 and 2000.

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