Walter Eugene (“Gene”) Rainwater, 104, passed away on Monday, August 12, 2019 in Tulsa, OK.
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Funeral: 9 a.m. Friday, August 23, 2019 at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington. Graveside: 11 a.m. Friday, August 23, 2019 at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas. Visitation: The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, August 22 at the funeral home.
Memorials: Donations in Gene's name may be made to the Breakfast East Fort Worth Optimist Foundation
c/o Patsy Garner
1950 Rockbrook Court
Fort Worth, TX 76112
Gene Rainwater was born in Oklaunion, Texas on July 18, 1915. The fourth child to Roscoe and Gertrude Rainwater. The family moved to Vernon when Gene was 12. Gene finished high school at the age of 16 and worked for the weekly Vernon Trade News for 5 years as the writer, publisher and delivery person. He saved money for college and attended Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, and obtained a degree in Journalism in 1940. Gene graduated from Texas Tech with Highest Honors, second in his class.
After graduation, he joined the Air Force and was stationed at Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento, California. Gene trained as an aerial navigator and became an instructor at Mather. He was transferred to San Marcos, Texas, to start a new navigation school and worked as an instructor and training officer until January 1945. During his service, Gene served on loan to the Air Transport Command as a long-range navigator to ferry B-26 bombers and troops to overseas bases. Gene was in London twice during the war and lived through two bombings of the city. Gene remained in the reserves until he retired in 1975 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
He met his wife Georgia Isbell in Vernon, Texas, at First Baptist Church. They married on December 26, 1946 in Fort Worth at Polytechnic Baptist Church. They moved to Sherman and had two sons, David and Paul. The family moved to Fort Worth where Gene worked as a revenue officer for the IRS until he retired in 1975. After retirement, Gene and Georgia traveled the world seeing 60 countries. In retirement, Gene took up archeology and traveled to Central America with the University of Texas archeology group. Gene attended several archeological expeditions in Mexico, Belize, Texas and New Mexico. Gene also took up golf where he had three holes in one witnessed by his golfing group.
Gene was a church member and served as a deacon in Sherman, Fort Worth and Arlington for many years. He was a member of the Breakfast Optimist Club of East Fort Worth, a group dedicated to bringing out the best in kids and volunteered for Meals on Wheels. He drove for Code Blue, a neighborhood watch program, for many years and was recognized by the Fort Worth Police Department when he retired at the age of 99.
While Gene remained a Texan at heart, he spent the last three years of his life in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to be near his granddaughter, Celeste. They lived one mile apart and spent time together almost every day. Until the end Gene laughed a lot, watched golf and the Texas Rangers on TV, worked crossword puzzles in the Star Telegram and often beat Celeste at solving the puzzles on Wheel of Fortune. Shortly before his death Gene shared that he was blessed; he had a good life, good health, a long marriage, was able to serve his country and see the world, he had many friends and family who loved him.
Wade Family Funeral Home