Ronald A. Wankel, age 98, died on Monday, July 29, 2019, at his home. He was born Ronald A. Larson in Stromsburg, Nebraska on July 18, 1921. He received his public education at Hastings, NE and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, receiving the doctorate of philosophy degree in chemistry in 1949. Dr. Wankel did postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus before employment with the Tennessee Eastman Company in 1950. He retired from TEC in 1986 as General Superintendent of the Chemicals Division.
Dr. Wankel served in the US Army, 294 field Artillery Observation Battalion, 9th Army, World War II from 1941-1946. He was awarded two Bronze Battle Stars in the European Theater Campaign.
Dr. Wankel joined his first wife, Jane, in service to his community, church and the education of children and youth. He was an active member of the Rotary Club and was diligent about attending the organization’s weekly meetings even while on vacation in Myrtle Beach. Dr. Wankel was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church for more than 40 years; a charter member of the Preston Hills Presbyterian Church, Kingsport, TN; and served as a lay preacher and Sunday School teacher for many years. He was a member of the Kingsport Board of Education from 1965-1969. He served as a founding member of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kingsport and was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Being an avid stamp and coin collector, Dr. Wankel spent many evenings helping boy scouts pass their stamp collecting merit badges.
Ron was preceded in death by his first wife of 53 years, Jane M. Wankel; one son, James M. Wankel; his parents, Eli and Winifred Larson; his adoptive parents, Herman and Lola Wankel; and three brothers, Max, Pat and Jim Lawson.
Surviving are his wife, Margie Nell Hayes Gurley Wankel; children and spouses: Ronald and Cecelia Wankel, Jonesborough, TN; Bruce Wankel, Abingdon, VA; Daniel Wankel, Kingsport, TN; and Mary Jane (Molly) Wankel, Washington, DC; grandsons Andrew Wankel, Cary, NC; and Mark Wankel (Jennifer) Blaine, TN; former daughter-in-law, Ellen Barker; six great-grandchildren; as well as Margie’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family will receive friends from 1-2:00 pm on Thursday, August 1, 2019 at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Kingsport. The funeral service will follow at 2:00 pm with Rev. Will Shewey officiating. A private family interment will follow.
Special thanks to Amedysis Hospice, especially to Ann Bowlin, Teresa Phips, Maude Stanley, and Roseanna for the care taken of Ronald and Margie over the last few years.