Cover photo for H. Frederick Rainey, Sr.'s Obituary
H. Frederick Rainey, Sr. Profile Photo

H. Frederick Rainey, Sr.

October 29, 1919 — April 4, 2015

H. Frederick Rainey, Sr.

Henry Frederick Rainey, Sr., a longtime resident of Duluth, Georgia, died peacefully on April 4, 2015.  He was 95.  A native of Georgia, Rainey was born October 29, 1919 in the small Georgia town of Ellaville. He was the fifth child and only surviving son of the Hon. 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, Virginia, 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 (SEABEE's).  He attended OTS at Camp Perry in Williamsburg, Virginia, 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 WWII, 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 is long and distinguished career with the Shell Oil Company.  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, SC, Atlanta, GA, San Francisco, CA, San Juan, PR, New York, NY, Houston, TX and Honolulu, HI.  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, TX, 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, TX and one great grandchild: Ella Rainey Tringhese..  He is also survived by his two stepchildren: Steven Leonard (Reba) of Plano, TX, their four sons: Michael, David, Andrew, Robert Paul and by Sandra Leonard Huzyk (Julian) of Denver, CO 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 will be held on Monday, April 13, 2015 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM and from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at the Bill Head Funeral Home, Duluth Chapel, 3088 GA Hwy. 120, Duluth, GA.

A celebration of life service will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 2:30 PM at the Duluth Methodist Church. 3208 GA Hwy 120, Duluth, GA.

Private burial of Mr. Rainey will be 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 will handle 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,

Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, 1755 N. Brown Rd., Suite 100. Lawrenceville, GA. 30043 or United Methodist Church Ministry of Care Fund, P.O. Box 699 Duluth GA 30096 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of H. Frederick Rainey, Sr., please visit our flower store.

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