Dr. Gary Ranker of Deer Harbor, Washington and New York, New York passed away March 28th in New York City surrounded by dear friends and family.
By all accounts, Gary had a remarkable life. He grew up on the beaches of California diving for abalone and lobster, surfing and beginning his lifelong love of the ocean. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Redlands in 1964. Drawn to other cultures, he left days after graduating from Redlands to go to Europe. In Cologne, Germany, he studied at the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft and, in 1965, received a degree in Intercultural Communication. He received his Masters’ Degree in International Business from Thunderbird in 1967. By the time he was thirty, Gary was the European Marketing Director and acting CEO in Germany and France for Hallmark International and was later CEO of Textron in Australia. He studied at the Fielding Graduate University, where he received his doctorate in 1983.
Gary worked and lived on four continents, spoke several languages and prided himself for his global mindset – cherishing and celebrating cultural differences. Having been approached by Jack Welch to be one of GE’s first change agents, Gary was known as the father of executive coaching. He was cited by Forbes as being one of “Top Five Executive Coaches on the World” and the Financial Times described him as “One of the 50 Most Important Global Thought Leaders.” Throughout his 30 years as one of the top executive coaches, he prided himself for his work helping the world’s top managers to consider behavioral and management changes to make not only their corporations but themselves, families and the world they impact better for their presence.
Having been recognized for his powerful activism in the beginnings of the Gay Rights Movement, including joining Richard Cassidy and Harvey Milk on the first ever march on Sacramento, Gary and his husband Shan received a special invitation to sit in the front row alongside Congressman Barney Frank and his husband when President Obama dedicated the Stonewall National Monument recognizing those first champions of the Gay Rights Movement.
In the end, I think what most people would say about our father, was that he had an infectious spirit. He would often say, “if you like what you get, you get what you want. …If you wanted a sunny day and it is raining, instead of being sad, why not recognize how fun it will be to get to cuddle up in your favorite coat?” His tireless positive passion for life and learning was so powerful that he influenced everyone he touched. From his clients, to his lifelong friends from Redlands, to the people he met on his 70th birthday when he flew to New Zealand so that he could jump one of the tallest bungee jumps, jet boat up a small slot canyon and skydive for the first time, all in one day… everyone who ever met our dad absolutely fell in love with him and his spirit.
Throughout his incredible life, Gary inspired and empowered so very many people to be better, to treat those around them with love, respect and dignity and to absolutely love life. This is how he will be remembered.
Gary is survived by his husband Shan; sons Kurt, Kevin and Kristian; grandson Ashlee; granddaughter Else; great-granddaughter Aisley and x-wife and lifelong friend, Kathy. Memorials will be held at Middle Collegiate Church in New York City April 28, 2019 at 2 p.m. and this summer on Orcas Island, Washington where he will be laid to rest near his mother, Bea Ranker.