Barbara Bell Rainey
October 16, 1935 – July 21, 2020
Barbara Bell Rainey, (84), passed away on July, 21, 2020, following a prolonged struggle with dementia and complications from COVID-19. She is survived by two sons, Stephen Mark Rainey of Greensboro, NC, and Alan Michael Rainey, of Winston-Salem, NC; one granddaughter, Allison Rachel Rainey, of New York City, NY. For 45 years, Barbara was married to Carl DeWitt Rainey, who passed away in 2001.
Barbara was born on October 16, 1935, to Dan and Christine Bell in Gainesville, GA. Through her childhood and college years, she called Gainesville home. She attended Brenau College in Gainesville, and, shortly after her graduation, met Carl Rainey, son of Gordon M. Rainey, the pastor of St. Paul Methodist Church, where she was a member. On August 12, 1956, Barbara and Carl were married in that church, with the groom's father, Rev. Rainey, officiating.
Carl secured employment with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, which led him and Barbara to settle in Chattanooga, TN. For four years, they dwelled happily in a house Carl had built on Signal Mountain. In May of 1959, their first son, Stephen Mark Rainey, was born. Shortly afterward, Carl was transferred to the Dupont plant in Martinsville, VA, where he remained as an executive for the next three decades. In May 1964, Barbara gave birth to their second son, Alan Michael Rainey.
For her full adult life, Barbara loved Martinsville and her family's home near Lake Lanier. After Mark and Alan left for college and then moved to their own homes, Barbara and Carl remained in their treasured home, which Barbara dubbed "Pleasant Hill." She continued to live at Pleasant Hill until her mid-80s, when increasingly severe health issues forced her to move to an assisted living facility.
Barbara was an active member of First United Methodist Church in Martinsville. She especially loved singing in the Chancel Choir, of which she was a member for over 50 years. She served the church and the community diligently, frequently involving herself in vital charity work, both locally and nationally. On her own time, she enjoyed playing bridge and, for many years, belonged to a group that met regularly at the members' homes. She had a passion for crossword puzzles and, on occasion, jigsaw puzzles, needlepoint, and decoupage. Her home was a source of great pride for her. She loved turning it from a mere house to a perfectly personalized home for her family.
Well-known for her strong faith, generosity, and subtle humor, Barbara lived her life prioritizing others' needs above her own. During Carl's long battle with complications from diabetes, to which he ultimately succumbed, she spent countless days and nights tending to him when he was unable to care for himself. Despite the unrelieved stress of being a full-time caregiver, never once did she exhibit despair or bitterness; if anything, her struggles honed her deeply held faith. After Carl's passing, she continued to honor his memory in every aspect of her life. Even as the ruinous effects of dementia inexorably destroyed memory after precious memory, she never forgot Carl or her children.
Barbara's life was a testament to faith, hope, charity, and love. Her love will never be forgotten.
In Lieu of flowers memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church, 146 East Main Street, Martinsville, VA 24112.
- Dan Bell, Father (deceased)
- Christine Bell, Mother (deceased)
- Carl DeWitt Rainey, Husband (deceased)
- Stephen Mark Rainey, Son
- Kimberly Brugger, Stephen's Fiance
- Alan Michael Rainey, Son
- Allison Rachel Rainey, Granddaughter
Learn more about the Rainey name
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Barbara Bell Rainey
July 24, 2020
I only met her a couple of times, but she was always good for a chuckle and good hospitality.
Mark, Christie & Sally Ann @ Stegall Insurance Agency
July 22, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.