Clois Miles Rainwater was the last of five children born to Roscoe Conklin Rainwater and his wife, Gertrude Alice Caughron Rainwater. Born 12 March 1923 in the tiny west Texas town of Oklaunion, Clois grew up in Vernon, Texas.
When World War II broke out, Clois volunteered and served in the Army Air Corps. He achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and worked as an aircraft armorer on the P61 Nightfighter. He was stationed on a number of bases in the south Pacific, and recalled that he would have been part of the invasion of Japan, had the atomic bombs not been dropped. His three brothers and one sister also served in the armed forces during the war.
Clois used his GI benefits to attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and there met Nancy Jane McIlhaney, the daughter of a local creamery owner. The two were married on 1 October 1949, and they became the parents of five children born between 1950 and 1962.
Upon graduation, the couple moved to Texas City, where Clois had a job with the Boy Scouts. Working for the Boy Scouts kept the family moving, and over the years, they lived in Texas City, Tyler, Vernon and Irving, Texas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Heron and Vienna, Illinois. One of his unique accomplishments for Scouting was conducting a study of a rural, underprivileged area of Southern Illinois for four years to better understand how to help areas like this benefit from the scouting programs.
After many years with the Boy Scouts, Clois took up real estate, and eventually became an insurance casualty adjuster. This work required traveling around the country, helping people get their lives back to normal after natural disasters.
Both Nancy and Clois were active in the Southern Baptist Church and served for many years as Discussion Leaders with Bible Study Fellowship. Clois was also active in many local civic organizations.
Clois was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, and died from the complications of the disease on 9 January 2010. His wife, Nancy, died of an unsuspected aneurysm less than a month later, on 4 February 2010.
The couple’s ashes are interred in Wilbarger Memorial Park, Lockett, Texas.
This photo was taken with a Bencini Comet S 127 film camera by Steve Rainwater of his parents on their last day in their home in Honey Grove, Texas, in 2009. Thanks to Randy Rainwater for some of the biographical details.
© 2018 Susan Chance-Rainwater
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