Memorial: Birthday of Martha JuliRae Rank

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The sun has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest, and families are crowding the local Washington beachesOzette Lake Shore and waterways. I listen to the news of recent swimming accidents, and I remember losing my family on the water during an especially beautiful summer.

My little sister, Martha JulieRae Rank would have been 47 years old this Fourth of July, 2010. She drowned at the tender age of 10, at Ozette Lake, Clallam County on July 11, 1973, with my family; Dad, Robert Ray Rank, (44,) Mom, Joyce Merilyn (Black) Rank, (44) and brother, David Alan Rank, (8). Martha and my Dad were never found. As the 37th anniversary of their passing nears, I remember them with love and fondness, and sadness, too. I wasn't able to share their lives with my four daughters. We lost a set of grandparents, and aunt and uncle I know my daughters would have treasured.

Cold water drownings are a fact in the Pacific Northwest. The outdoor temperature may have quickly risen past 85, but the Snohomish County lakes, rivers, and streams are still quite cold. Every time I hear news of another family's possible loss, it brings my family's accident back as if it was yesterday. Hypothermia is an equal opportunity killer. Sure, sometimes the victim is brought back with fast medical intervention; but not always. I listen to the radio, and hope that at least today's news family will be able to find their lost loved one. With the lakes so cold, and the waters traveling so fast on the rivers, it's sometimes difficult to find the body. It's bad enough they are gone, but to never find your loved one, is a special kind of sadness.

When you visit one of our wonderful parks or recreation area, please take care. Read up on where you're going, scope out what others had to say about the location. Be aware the water is always colder than your body can handle, past a certain point. Hike, swim, and visit parks and wilderness areas as a group. Wear a simple whistle. Leave a note in your car, telling everyone where you're going. Keep your cell phone charged, even if it's left at the car. But more important than anything else; talk to your family before you go. Simply let your family know you love them.

Please make a will before you go on an extended vacation; just write it into your travel budget. Our family died intestate, (no will,) and with my father's body never found, adopted and step-children left behind, plus a few properties, the legal mess was *awful*. Just take an hour or two with a trusted legal advisor, and make sure you never put your family in that position. Leave them tangible proof of your enduring love and concern by creating a will. You'll sleep better, knowing this all-important detail is settled.

Enjoy our overdue summer sun, but remember; because our local cold waters are so beautiful, they can sometimes cause tragedy even when used with respect.

I'll be thinking of you out there.

We recommend the personal legal services of:
James T. Hendry
(425) 387-9719 
Attorney at Law
Everett, WA.

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Stacey Mayer - Everett, WA

Martha JuliRae Rank attended Sacajawea Elementary School in Seattle, WA. Twice this year, I've been contacted by schoolmates of Martha's who found this short memorial to her, posted in 2010. Thank you so very much for contacting me. What an incredible miracle, after all these years! This summer, as my family gets ready to visit Ozette Lake, we'll bring with us the knowledge that Martha is lovingly remembered by her classmates, and her remembered laughter will fill our hearts as we splash in the lake. She'd have liked that. l hope to connect with more of you in the days ahead.

Jun 28, 2011 11:36 AM #1
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