Nantucket Steamship authority governor H. Flint Ranney died Dec. 21 at home surrounded by his family following a brief illness. He was 77.
A tireless advocate for Nantucket and equally staunch defender of the Vineyard’s interests, Mr. Ranney was appointed to replace the late Grace Grossman who died in 2004. He had previously served on the boat line port council and was well versed in SSA affairs when he became governor. A respected real estate professional and the owner of Denby Real Estate on Nantucket, Mr. Ranney had a shrewd business sense but also brought humor and a fun style to the boat line board. He was known for his signature bow ties and colorful socks.
“He was wonderful,” Vineyard SSA governor Marc Hanover told the Gazette. “We both served on the port council together. He was very pro Nantucket and we always worked very well together.”
Mr. Hanover said Mr. Ranney’s recent illness was quietly known to board members; his last meeting was earlier this week when he participated by speaker phone from Nantucket.
The next day the Nantucket selectmen voted to appoint Mr. Ranney’s son Robert Ranney to the post.
Flint Ranney traced his family roots on Nantucket back to 1915. He loved all the ferries, but had special affection for the Nobska. “The steamship Nobska was my all-time favorite boat,” he once wrote in a guest post for a Nantucket blog. “She served Nantucket from 1925 until 1973. Thanks to the Steamship Authority, you can hear her whistle during the arrivals and departures of the Motor Vessel Eagle in Nantucket (but not in Hyannis!).”
At a meeting of the board in November 2011, Mr. Ranney presented Mr. Hanover with an antique steam whistle to install on the ferry Martha’s Vineyard. Two days before the annual Island Cup football game, Mr. Ranney wove friendly Island rivalry into his remarks.
“I offer it as a token of our great respect, affection and friendship for the Island of Martha’s Vineyard from the whistleblowers on your sister island of Nantucket,” he told Mr. Hanover at the close of the monthly Steamship Authority meeting.
“He worked tirelessly to get Nantucket great service,” Mr. Hanover said. “He really brought stability to the board.”
Mr. Ranney was co-founder of Nantucket’s annual daffodil parade, and is the father of Nantucket town manager Libby Gibson. He served on the Nantucket school committee, the Nantucket Bank board of directors, and was a longtime member of the Nantucket Rotary Club.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 28 at St. Mary’s Our Lady of the Isle on Federal Street on Nantucket.