Henry F. Rainey Sr.: April 4, 2015
Published 11:47 am Thursday, April 16, 2015
DULUTH — Henry Frederick Rainey Sr., a longtime resident of Duluth, Ga., died peacefully on April 4, 2015. He was 95. A native of Georgia, Rainey was born Oct. 29, 1919, in the small Georgia town of Ellaville. He was the fifth child and only surviving son of the Honorable John Clifford Rainey and Ida McKee Peacock. Rainey was always very proud of his deep Georgia roots — his great-great-grandfather, Reuben Morgan Rainey, from Mecklenburg, Va., was one of the first settlers in South Georgia following the Revolutionary War.
From a young age, it was clear that Rainey was a gifted individual. Vastly intelligent and insatiably curious about the changing world around him, he excelled in the classroom. He graduated from Ellaville High School, Georgia Southwestern College and studied civil engineering at Georgia Tech and graduated with honors from Auburn University in 1942. Soon thereafter, he enlisted in the Naval Civil Engineering Corps (SEABEEs). He attended OTS at Camp Perry in Williamsburg, Va., where he met his first wife, Dorothy Marie Green, who at the time was a co-ed at the College of William and Mary. They married in 1946. During World War II, Rainey served in the Pacific theater with the 70th and 109th Naval Construction Battalions. He continued his service during the demolition and dismantling of facilities after the war ended. He was honorably discharged from the Navy as a lieutenant.
After the war, Rainey began his long and distinguished career with the Shell Oil Co. He traveled extensively throughout the United States and the Caribbean, serving as both an executive and civil engineer heading up major projects for the company. During his 36-year career with Shell Oil, he and his family lived in Charleston, S.C., Atlanta, Ga., San Francisco, Calif., San Juan, Puerto Rico, New York, N.Y., Houston, Texas, and Honolulu, HawaiiI. He was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Rainey’s first wife died of cancer in 1977. In 1978, he married his second wife, Dorothy Leonard. They both retired from Shell Oil in 1982, and moved to Duluth. They became active and beloved members of the community, especially among the members of the Duluth Methodist Church and as active patrons of the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation. Rainey was also active for many years as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and the Joan Glancy Memorial Hospital. Always curious about the world, he and Dorothy traveled the globe to places as far flung as Australia, the Ukraine and Peru.
Rainey’s philosophy of life was always peppered with South Georgia folk wisdom and charm. He never met a stranger and was known to befriend all those around him. A gifted storyteller and amateur historian, Rainey especially enjoyed recounting stories of his youth spent in Ellaville and tales of American history. Tapping his encyclopedic knowledge, he was the ultimate contrarian and adored challenging his children and grandchildren on a wide variety of subjects from economics to geography and science. He was a passionate reader, avid golfer and fisherman, and a lifelong fan of his beloved Auburn Tigers. He rarely missed watching a game in his 70-plus years as an alumnus.
In his long life, Rainey managed to live with a positive outlook and never lost his resolve to make the best of things. He shaped the lives of those around him in significant and invaluable ways. He will be missed and remembered with love by all those who knew him.
Rainey is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Dorothy Leonard Rainey of Duluth, Ga.; his children: Jennifer Rainey Esfahani (Matt) of Houston, Texas, Henry Frederick Rainey Jr. of Sydney, Australia; his grandchildren: Elizabeth Rainey Esfahani of Washington, D.C., Cameron Frederick Rainey-Esfahani (Emma) of Lausanne, Switzerland, Sarah Esfahani Tringhese (Anthony) of Houston, Texas, and one great-grandchild: Ella Rainey Tringhese. He is also survived by his two stepchildren: Steven Leonard (Reba) of Plano, Texas, their four sons: Michael, David, Andrew, Robert Paul and by Sandra Leonard Huzyk (Julian) of Denver, Colo., and their children: Theodore and Skylar.
Rainey is preceded in death by his parents, his brother, John Clifford, his three sisters: Elizabeth Council, Lillian Edge, Rosalind Henderson and his first wife, Dorothy Green Rainey.
Visitation was held on from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 13, 2015, at the Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, 3088 Ga. Highway 120, Duluth, Ga.
A celebration of life service was held on at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at Duluth Methodist Church, 3208 Ga. Highway 120, Duluth, Ga.
Private burial of Mr. Rainey was at the Memorial Gardens of the Duluth Methodist Church, Duluth, Ga., and at the Ellaville City Cemetery, Ellaville, Ga. Watson Giddens Funeral Home in Ellaville, Ga., handled the ceremony there.
In lieu of flowers, kindly make memorial donations to any of the following: Ellaville/Schley County Historical Society, Inc., Attn: Nancy McMath Young, P.O. Box 175 Ellaville GA 31806; or Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, 1755 N. Brown Road, Suite 100, Lawrenceville GA.30043 or United Methodist Church Ministry of Care Fund, P.O. Box 699, Duluth GA 30096.