Born Jeannette Tonge (1916-2004) in Sausalito, California. She married Ontario-born Jack S.F. Ottewell (1915-1992) in 1938 in California. They had three children by the time they moved to Vancouver, BC. They later divorced and Jonnie married Vancouver labour activist, controversial city councillor, and a C.O.P.E. founder, Harry Rankin (1920-2002), in 1948. The Rankins had two children. The couple separated in 1985. From the time of her working years in the Vancouver shipyards, Jonnie supported trade union issues, the peace movement, community concerns, and the advance of socialism.