Midland Texas – Nancy Rankin McKinley, Midland’s loyal historian, died Sunday in Midland Memorial Hospital. She was 97.  “Nancy McKinley was a beautiful lady,” said Judge John Hyde, a fellow historian who, like Mrs. McKinley, is steeped in Midland and the Midland Country history. “She was smart. She was informed, and she loved Texas.”

“I view her as an irreplaceable icon,” Hyde said. It was fitting that she passed into Heaven on the anniversary month of Texas Independence (in 1836).”

Memorial services for Mrs. McKinley are pending with Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home and Crematory in Midland.

A native Midlander, she was born to Porter and Julia Estes Rankin on June 4, 1913, and was a 1931 graduate of Midland High School.  Until recent years, Mrs. Rankin famously traveled about town and to the museum, where she was curator and archivist, in her old reliable 1976 Ford Elite coupe.

On her 90th birthday, still hearty and vivacious, she wryly announced that she did “not have any profound or sage philosophy for others (to live a long and, in her case, accomplished life).  “I don’t even have one for myself.” Furthermore, Mrs. McKinley said, “I don’t think that there is any set rule for any one person” to live long in years. “There are no set rules as far as I know. Everybody plays by their own rules.”  However, she did recall her grandmother Eliza Rankin’s suggestion for living long and well: “Just put one foot in front of the other.”

In honoring the “Midland Country” heritage, Mrs. McKinley, always straightforward, said: “You just get right on and do what needs to be done. As time goes on, you’ve got to work the angles. It is important to know and to appreciate your heritage.”