Our dearly, beloved, Mother Rainey Mae Hunter-Dillard., transitioned peacefully from service to reward on April 22, 2019.
Born Rainey Mae Burns on February 29th, 1928 to Raymond (Rainey) Burns and Flora Ann Faust in Atlanta, Georgia. Rainey Mae was a phenomenal woman from the start, she was born on a leap year and named after her father, who loved her dearly.
Rainey Mae was raised in the Summer Hill, Fourth Ward and East Lake neighborhoods of Atlanta, Georgia and educated in the Atlanta Public School System.
After the untimely passing of her mother in 1939, Rainey Mae went to live with her Aunt Charity who instilled in her the principles of independence, self- determination and perseverance. These principles would shape her character for many years to come.
In 1944, Rainey Mae decided to relocate to New York to live with her father and continue her education. It was during Rainey Mae’s early days in New York that she met and fell in love with Deacon Samuel Calvin Hunter, Sr of Savannah, Georgia. Samuel and Rainey Mae were married and during there 42 years together were born seven children.
Rainey Mae and Samuel, Sr shared a passion for the outdoors and adventure and they shared this passion with their growing family. Rainey Mae was known for enjoying day trips to upstate New York, Coney Island, Rye Playland, sightseeing around Manhattan and to visit relatives in Long Island. Rainey Mae shared the stories of the Bible with her children and made sure they attended church services regularly. In 1962, when tragedy struck the family and claimed the life of her oldest son Samuel, Jr., it was her faith in Jesus Christ and support from family that sustained her.
On March 9, 1969 Rainey Mae was saved and baptized with the gift of the Holy Ghost at the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in the Bronx, New York, under the leadership of Pastor Leroy Turner. It was the power of the Holy Ghost that enabled her to walk in the beauty of holiness and gave her hope during dark periods, especially when cancer claimed the life of her youngest son Irving later that year.
Also, in 1969, Rainey Mae answered her call to the Ministry of Helps according to 1 Corinthians 12:28. She worked faithfully and tirelessly as Chairlady of the Holy Temple Usher Board. Her presence was an active and tremendous one, as she welcomed souls into the church each Sunday with her beautiful smiling face which was heartwarming and unforgettable. Her favorite quote was: “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” Psalms 84:10.
She worked for many years as a Note Teller Typist and Administrative Assistant for Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. Rainey Mae’s new found career did not compromise her relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ or her love for her family, but instead enhanced it.
As Rainey Mae’s family grew, she continued to prepare her fabulous meals for gatherings. She was known for her: Baked Chicken, Banana Pudding, Sweet Potatoes Pies, Cakes and her unique way of slicing Neapolitan Ice Cream. She also continued to pursue her passion for designing and sewing. Rainey Mae designed and sewed hundreds of fashions for herself, her family and members of her church.
Rainey Mae loved to travel and once her children were grown, she and Samuel, Sr., would travel and relocate to wherever their hearts led them. Long Island, Atlanta, Florida, Virginia, Puerto Rico and California were all among her favorite travel destinations.
After the demise of her beloved, Samuel, Sr., in 1987, Rainey Mae relocated to Richmond, Virginia. It would be many years before her heart would heal from this loss, but eventually God sent her another soulmate. Deacon Francis Hatchett Dillard of Waverly, Virginia was fellow kind, warm and had a kindred spirit who also shared the same passion for serving the Lord. Rainey Mae and Francis were soon united in holy matrimony. Rainey Mae continued to love and care for Francis until his demise in 2003; just as she had done for her Mother, her Aunt Charity and Samuel, Sr.
When age and illness began to slow Rainey Mae down, she decided it was time to come full-circle and return home to Georgia, where she made her transition from service to reward.
Rainey Mae devoted her life to holiness and serving humanity. She was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and shared her faith with anyone that would listen. She was known for evangelism in hospitals, nursing homes, mass transit, sidewalks, and anyplace that hearts and ears were willing to receive it. Rainey Mae was a unique and beautiful spirit. She touched countless lives and won many souls for Christ. She will be greatly missed by all those who loved and knew her.
Rainey Mae Hunter-Dillard is preceded in death by her father Raymond (Rainey) Burns; her mother, Flora Ann Faust; her stepmother, Emma Lou Burns; husband(s) Samuel Calvin Hunter, Sr., and Francis Hatchett Dillard; two sons, Samuel Calvin Hunter, Jr., and Irving Bernard Hunter; her brother, Raymond, Jr.
Her survivors include her children: Diedre D’ann (Dorothy Ann), Claudette, George Alvin (Alvin George), Carol Jean and Gwendolyn Flora; her two sisters, Patricia Brown and Gwendolyn Davis. Rainey Mae is also survived by thirteengrandchildren, twenty-one great grandchildren, nine great-great grandchildren, one God-daughter and a host of family and friends.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind: Charity envieth not: Charity vaunteth not itself, and it is not puffed up” - 1 Corinthians 13:4
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” - 1 Corinthians 13:13
- Respectfully Submitted
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