Paige Andrew’s letter to Tom Brittnacher about Kathy Rankin
September 6, 2018
Kathy Rankin is one of those unique, outgoing and talented individuals whom one meets only on occasion in their life. And then she leaves a lasting impression. Her openly friendly demeanor and willingness to help anyone have long-lasting affects.
For me, Kathy is first and foremost a fellow maps cataloger who has had a different situation from mine in that she only gets to practice her craft in describing historical maps now and then, rather than on a consistent basis. And yet she excels at what she does. I have enjoyed both assisting her with questions and hearing how she has described something unique about a map, thus teaching me something new also. On a broader professional scale Kathy strikes me as a “quiet leader” — while she has served in many formal capacities for not only WAML but also other organizations such as MAGIRT, she is best at exemplifying leadership through her own actions, whether that is through her writing, presentations delivered, or being an active and contributing member of a committee or similar group. She has done so much for WAML over many years, most recently and notably conducting a series of oral interviews with retired members of the organization who also provided service and leadership to WAML, and has been publishing these in the Information Bulletin as completed. This particular project cannot be understated in importance to the organization; Kathy’s hard work and dedication to it means we will have a written record of luminaries in WAML and simultaneously a historical perspective of the organization for anyone to use long into the future. She is to be commended for decades of service to WAML and richly deserves the WAML Distinguished Service Award.
I have had the honor and pleasure of working side by side with Kathy on a variety of tasks, from dealing with changes to map cataloging rules/practice to most recently garnering needed information about Mary Larsgaard that assisted me in working with ALCTS leaders to create and deliver a memorial resolution that honored Mary and her lifetime of work. I am also aware of some of Kathy’s interests and expertise outside of the profession, notably genealogical pursuits and needlepoint.
As a person and fellow human being Kathy is simply superb. She is kind, dedicated, and always positive in attitude, she makes those around her better and brightens any room that she steps in to. I am thrilled to know that her work and love for WAML and its people is being recognized by our organization’s Distinguished Service Award!