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Lavon Rainey

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Lavon Rainey, 96, passed away on December 28, 2022. A graveside service will be held at Chapel Hill Cemetery on January 3, 2023, at 1:00 PM.

Lavon was born the oldest of six on October 21, 1926, to Mike and Thelma (Millington) Paisley in Hanover, IL, where she lived until after WW II. She graduated from Hanover Community High School, in 1944, in a class of 12. During the war she worked at the armory in Savannah, IL driving a forklift. On her days off she went to dances with the Italian prisoners of war. Lavon moved to Des Moines in '47 where she met and married her husband, Harold Rainey. Lavon was a stay-at-home mom until her children went to school, at which time she went to work for Pioneer Hybrid Seed Corn in the logistics department. A pioneer working at a time when most women didn't work, she worked full time and took care of her daughters while Harold was driving his truck. Her job was too complex for anyone to think of a job title for her, so she called herself "girl Friday" when people asked. She was a feminist long before feminism was a thing, and was proud that she had to train newer, college-educated, male employees to do their job. She was so valuable she stayed on as a consultant after she retired.

In her free time, Lavon loved to read and garden and spent a lot of time traveling within the U.S. and Canada with her husband. She had visited 49 of the 50 states just missing out on Hawaii where Harold couldn't drive in an RV. She was also an active member of TOPs for several decades.

Lavon is preceded in death by her parents Mike and Thelma, husband Harold, four siblings; Duane, Carl, Norma Jean, and Carol, and three granddaughters; Laurel, Voula, and Christina.

Lavon is survived by her brother Alex (Carolyn) Paisley, daughters Diana (Ronnie) Anderson and Janet Rainey, grandchildren Michelle (Michael), Ari, Diane, Helen, Maria, and Olga, 15 great grand-children and one great-great-grandchild, baby Aiden.


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