Friends, family bid farewell to Terrance Rankins
by steve metsch email@example.com January 19, 2013 1:52PM
Pallbearers carry the casket of Terrance Rankins into True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor, IL for his visitation and funeral Saturday, January 19, 2013. Rankins and Eric Glover were found murdered in Joliet last week. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 19, 2013 6:12PM
Sandra Jones-Steward first met Terrance Rankins when he was 3 years old. Even then, she knew he was someone special.
She was his pre-kindergarten teacher at Hill Memorial Learning Center back then.
“He was very active. Lots of energy. He constantly wanted to challenge you on things, but he was very obedient,” she said.
Years later, after she became the center’s executive director, she hired Rankins, then 16, as custodian.
“He was very respectful. Polite. Very dependable. He was just well-raised,” Jones-Steward said.
She and her husband, Michael Steward, were among the 400 mourners, estimated by funeral home officials, who attended Rankins’ visitation and funeral Saturday.
Rankins, 22, and his friend, Eric Glover, 22, both of Joliet, were found dead in a Joliet house on Jan. 10.
Authorities said they were lured to the house, then robbed and killed. Four people been charged with their deaths, police said.
Services were held Friday for Glover. And on Saturday, his friend Rankins was laid to rest.
Circumstances surrounding their deaths are difficult to comprehend, Jones-Steward said.
“We’re at a loss for words, but in the midst of it, we’re praying for the family and looking to God for strength,” she said.
That sentiment was echoed by many who came to True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, 14324 Marshfield Ave., Dixmoor, to pay their final respects.
The church parking lots were packed with vehicles, as were surrounding streets.
Congregation member Charlie Tillman, of Markham, fondly recalled taking Rankins and other boys from the church on fishing trips to Wisconsin each summer.
“He enjoyed those trips. All the boys did. And, yes, we caught some fish,” Tillman said with a smile. “This is all so sad.”
Standing in a long line to enter the church, Marcus Scott reflected on the man he called his best friend.
“We go back almost 10 years. I’ll miss his friendship. I still can’t believe this (happened.) I talked to him that day. He was in a good mood, like always. I have so many memories of him. It’s hard to pick out one. We lived down the street from each other and were together all the time,” Scott said.
It was easy for Jarrell Calimee to point out a special moment.
“It was the day we played basketball at JJC (Joliet Junior College) and he scored 32 points,” Calimee, 26, of Crest Hill,said. “He was a good man. Always smiling. Joking.”
Judah Howard, 24, of Harvey, arrived holding a bouquet of colorful flowers for the family.
Like many Saturday, he was at a loss trying to explain Rankins’ death.
“There’s just some things you can’t understand. (He was) loved by so many and hated by so few,” Howard said. “This is breathtaking.”
Several mourners arrived carrying foil-covered food servings for the family. Quite a few dabbed tears from their eyes as they patiently waited to pay their respects.
Some talked in hushed tones. Others hugged.
Meanwhile, as Rankins was being mourned and his remains eventually taken in a gleaming white hearse to Washington Memory Gardens in Homewood, the four charged with first-degree murder — Joshua Miner, 24, Alisa Massaro, 18, and Adam Landerman, 19, all of Joliet, and Bethany McKee, 18, of Shorewood – remain in custody in the Will County Jail in lieu of $10 million bail.
The murders, Michael Steward said, were “so inhumane.”
“It’s all a part of God’s plan,” he said, “but we don’t know what God’s plan is.”