Margaret True Lewis Rankel, of Niles

Sept. 11, 1923 — March 20, 2020

Margaret True Lewis Rankel, 96, of Niles, died peacefully at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020, at West Woods of Niles following an extended illness.

She was born Sept. 11, 1923, in Berrien County, to John and Hattie (Smith) True. She was the youngest of nine children, all of whom are deceased. She attended Oak Grove School through eighth grade, and then attended Niles High School for two years. Finally, she transferred to Buchanan High School, graduating in 1941.

That same year, she married Wally Lewis, of Buchanan. They had four children, Larry Lewis, of Tucson, Arizona, Gary Lewis, Dale Lewis and Margie (Lewis) Leazenby, all of Niles.

Her first husband, Wallace Lewis, passed away in 1987 after 46 years of marriage. In 2001, Margaret married George Rankel of South Bend, Indiana who passed away in 2016 after 15 years of marriage.

She is survived by her four children and George’s two sons, James, of Buchanan, and Richard, of Dowagiac. Margaret is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Margaret was an independent person all her life, including driving herself wherever she wanted to go.

She was a “Rosie the Riveter” during WWII, a hostess at Frankie’s Restaurant in Niles, managed a storage facility in St. Joe, and a salesperson at Rowley’s Shoes in Niles, but spent most of her life doing the job she loved the most, raising and loving her adoring family.

She was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

The funeral service for Margaret Rankel will be attended by only her immediate family at noon on Friday, March 27, 2020 at the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles with Mr. Don Hales, lay minister at Tanglewood Trace Retirement Home in Mishawaka officiating. Interment will follow at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Buchanan. Relatives and friends are invited to witness the ceremony via the livestreamed broadcast available on the Halbritter-Wickens Facebook page:

Contributions in memory of Margaret may be made to the Niles District Library, 620 E. Main Street, Niles, MI 49120; During this time of limited social contact, please continue in personal contact using greeting cards and the postal service or with online condolences which may be left at: