Mourners gathered to celebrate the life and mark the passing of Kent “Biggie” Rankin during a service at the Church of God (Universal) on Saturday.
Mr. Rankin, a notable businessman and farmer, passed away at age 71 on March 28, after a two-year battle with cancer.
At the age of 24, Mr. Rankin started Paramount Carpets with $45 worth of flooring tools. That venture was the beginning of what would become the multi-industry Paramount Group, which is, today, one of the largest family conglomerates in the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Rankin also had a deep love for nature and farming, and received many awards for agriculture.
He was memorialized in prayer, song, and tributes made by many of his family members and friends.
Esther Jackson read a moving tribute from Mr. Rankin’s wife, Ruth.
“He was a faithful provider to me and my family and built a business, for which we are very proud and grateful for,” she said. “We all feel the void that will be forever in our hearts. We intend to carry on what he started, to the very best of our abilities.
“We are so thankful for the life of Kent and the way he worked to accomplish his dreams. It was my deepest desire that we would spend our 50th Anniversary together, but I’m grateful for the 46 years of marriage that God has blessed us with.”
Mr. Rankin’s siblings, his nieces and nephews and his Sunday school class, also presented tributes. Sherrill Ebanks spoke on behalf of his children and grandchildren.
“The man we all know and love stood by his morals, ensuring they were instilled in each and every one of us,” she said. “Through it all he always made time to spend with us as a group and individually. Our fondest memory is the love he gave us, the way he spoke to us, the way he broke things down into layman’s terms, so that we understood him fully.”
“We are thankful for his 71 full years, a gift not everyone experiences in this lifetime,” she said. “There are so many things to be thankful for, the way he unshakably loved and adored our mother; the abiding love he had for each of his children; for his enlarging faith and that he found his way to the Lord.”
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush gave Mr. Rankin’s eulogy.
Many members of the Cayman Islands government attended the service, including Premier Alden McLaughlin.
A written tribute from the government described Mr. Rankin’s “outstanding contributions” to the development of Cayman, from establishing many businesses to introducing several new and innovative farming techniques to the islands.
“He was never afraid to roll his sleeves up and do what needed to be done, and he always made time to mentor and advise anyone who sought his counsel,” the government tribute says. “He was always willing to freely and enthusiastically share his knowledge and wisdom, and as such, many have been touched by his legacy.”
In 2012, Mr. Rankin’s contributions to the islands were recognized formally when he received the Order of the Cayman Islands at the grade of Commander (CMH).
Mr. Rankin is survived by his wife Ruth, his children Gary, David, Kenny, Paul, Albert, Sophia, Haymond and Kendra, 16 grandchildren, two great grandchildren, siblings Dalis, Olsie, Gilbert, Dulcie and Joey, and many nieces and nephews.
Mr. Rankin was interred at Garden of Reflections on Old Prospect Road.