Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obituary: A.J. "Tony" Rane - Class of 1935

ABBEVILLE, ALABAMA - A. J. "Tony" Rane, a resident of Abbeville, died Tuesday morning, July 12, 2011, at his home. He would have been 95 on July 24th.

Mr. Rane was born and reared in Madison, Wis., son of the late Joseph Rane and Concetta Bongiovanni Rane. He was a 1935 graduate of Central High School in Madison. Mr. Rane served his country in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He lived in Hollywood, Calif. and New York City, New York before moving to Abbeville in 1946.

Mr. Rane was instrumental in organizing the Abbeville Improvement Association and met with Bill Sims of the Alabama Chamber of Commerce to help convert this organization into the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce in 1953. He then served as the First President of the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce from 1953 until 1954. Mr. Rane was a member and past President of the Abbeville Lions Club and a former President of the Alabama Travel Council. He was selected "Mr. Alabama Travel" in 1978 and was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame in 2009. Mr. Rane owned and operated the Village Inn Restaurant and Rane Furniture and co-owned Henry County Livestock and Lentone Jewelry, all in Abbeville. He owned the Embers Restaurant in Eufaula and was a co-owner of Holiday Inns in Eufaula, Ala., Evergreen, Ala., Greenville, Ala., and Crestview, Fla., Mr. Rane was instrumental in recruiting Pepperell Manufacturing Company to locate in Abbeville in 1953. He helped the Alabama Bureau of Publicity and Information in the establishment of Welcome Centers across the State of Alabama.

Mr. Rane was a long-time member of Great Southern Wood Preserving, Inc. Board of Directors, and the example he set of helping those in need was the inspiration behind the establishment of the Jimmy Rane Foundation. In 2005, Mr. Rane was the subject of a book, Mr. Tony's Lessons of La Famiglia, and his many achievements were the centerpiece of an article in the February 2010 issue of Great Southern's newsletter. Mr. Rane was a member of the St. Columba Catholic Church in Dothan.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Mamie Rane Fuss and also four brothers, Sam Rane, James A. Rane, John Rane and Frank Rane.

Surviving relatives include his wife, Elizabeth "Libba" Mills Rane, Abbeville; two sons, Jimmy Rane and wife, Angela, Abbeville; and Greg Rane and wife, Kathleen, Dothan; nine grandchildren, Ashleigh Rane Savoy and husband, Kevin; James W. Rane Jr. and wife, Mandy; Lindsay Rane, Jason Hudspeth and wife, Leslie; Chris Hudspeth and wife, Mallory; Keith Rane, Kylie Rane Marburger and husband, Rob; G.G. Holley Daly and husband, Pat; and Tom Holley and wife, Liz; numerous great-grandchildren.

Serving as active pallbearers will be Mr. Mitchell Weaver, Mr. Gene Woodham, Mr. Robert Edward Phillips, Mr. Lester Killebrew, Dr. Kirby Bland, Mr. Buddy Riley, Mr. Chad Jones and Mr. Johnny Lindsey. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Mr. Gene Stallings, Mr. Pat Dye, Mr. Ray Goff, Mr. Larry Blakeney, Mr. Wimp Sanderson and Mr. Cliff Ellis.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, July 15, 2011, in the ABBEVILLE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH with Father Patrick Gallagher, Mr. John Riley, Reverend Michael Whitt, Reverend Robert C. Yawn and Coach Gene Stallings officiating. Entombment, with military honors, will follow in the Rane-Mills Mausoleum in the Abbeville Memorial Cemetery. Holman-Abbeville Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. The family will receive friends from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday in the Abbeville United Methodist Church Family Life Center. A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Family Life Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Columba Catholic Church, 2700 W. Main Street, Dothan, AL 36301 or to the Jimmy Rane Foundation, P.O. Box 40, Abbeville, AL 36310.

Holman-Abbeville Mortuary is in charge of arrangements. 334-585-5261.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on July 13, 2011 (submitted by Michael Vahldieck, Class of 1968)

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