Funeral Operator Dan Rannells, who passed away last week at the age of 81, earned the affection of those in the Hamlet community and beyond because he cared about them. He was revered and respected by those in a privileged social circle, but it was those of modest means who loved him the most. You can see the lasting impact Rannells had on the community he served by the dedication of his family to the values instilled in them.
Dan Rannells and his devoted wife JoAnn became owners of the former Black Funeral Home in 1952 and established the Rannells Funeral Home. The family later established the Rannells Funeral Home, Koontz Chapel in 1978. For many years, Mr. Rannells served the community, not only as its funeral director, but as the operator of the ambulance service in northeastern Starke County. When the ambulance service became affiliated with the county in the mid-70’s, he continued serving his community by transporting the sick and injured to the hospital until 1986. Then, when the ambulance service was upgraded recently, his son Kris spent countless hours helping with the training for first responders and spearheading the drive to bring the county to ALS certification.
Rannells was a member of many community organizations and groups which include the Hamlet Lion’s Club, the Knox Masonic Lodge as a 50-year member, and member of the Indiana Funeral Director’s Association, plus many other organizations. He was also a past member of the Hamlet Fire Department, Starke County Sheriff’s Department Merit Board and vice president of the Starke County Republican Central Committee. He also served in the capacity of Hamlet Town Board member and Starke County Coroner.
He leaves behind four children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.