Obituary for Robert J. Trankle

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Robert J. Trankle

June 19, 1922 - February 28, 2017

Robert J. Trankle, age 94, passed away Tuesday morning, Feb. 28, 2017, at the Franklin United Methodist Community.  Bob was a resident of Franklin.

Bob was born on June 19, 1922 in Rapid City, South Dakota, to the late Elmer and Winifred (Babington) Trankle.  He graduated from high school in Rapid City in 1940, attended the Black Hills School of Mines, and joined the U.S. Navy during WW II.  He attended training in Astoria, Oregon and became a Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class with schooling in Bethesda, Maryland.  He served his country as a lab technician at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital.  It was at this naval hospital that he met his future bride, Anne Kriebel Winter, of Maplewood, New Jersey who was a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in bacteriology.  She was serving her country in the U.S. Navy Waves as a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class.  When their Naval service was over, she joined him in Rapid City where they were married on October 25, 1946.

Bob returned to his schooling at the Black Hills Teacher’s College in Spearfish, SD then on to the University of South Dakota in Vermillion for a degree in Bacteriology.  He worked at the University of Omaha, then moved the family to Iowa City where he earned a PhD in Botany from the University of Iowa in May of 1963.  His first teaching position was at Franklin College, bringing the family east for the first time.  After teaching at Franklin College, he joined the staff at the Johnson County Board of Health.  

Bob was active in the Tree Board of Franklin, helping to select and plant trees for beautification of the town for which they were awarded recognition as Tree City U.S.A.  

As a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Franklin, he was known by all as “The Candy Man.”  Suckers filled his pockets and were distributed to the children before each Sunday worship service. 

Bob is survived by three daughters: Elizabeth (Keith) Mardis of Springfield, MO; Janet (William) Phillips of Mitchell, IN; and Nancy (William) Kirklin of Franklin.  There are five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.  He is also survived by his brother George (Della) Trankle of Rapid City, SD.

He was preceded in death by his wife Anne on Jan. 1, 2016, his parents and a younger sister (Elizabeth 1923-1928).

Bob and Anne’s wishes were to be cremated and inurned together with military rites at Black Hills National Cemetery in South Dakota. Cremation services have been provided by Meredith-Clark Funeral Home Cremation & Personalization Center in Morgantown.

Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Bob to the Johnson County Humane Society, 3827 Graham Road, Franklin, IN 46131 and or the Heifer International “Trees for Every Season” at

Expressions of caring and kindness can be made to the Trankle family at Info. 812-597-4670


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Timeline for Robert Trankle

Born: June 19, 1922
Died: February 28, 2017

Condolences for Robert Trankle

Joyce and Bob Kleinrath posted on 3/4/17

Dear Friends, We are saddened for your loss but celebrate Dr. Trankle's life .... full of service to others and rich in family and nature. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Let your wonderful memories, stories, and faith comfort you. Take care, Joyce and Bob