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James Waverly Rainey

November 26, 1955 December 12, 2018
James  Waverly Rainey
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Obituary for James Waverly Rainey

DOUGLASVILLE, GA: James Waverly Rainey, 63, of Douglasville, Georgia passed away Wednesday, December 12, 2018, after a long battle of declining health. He is now free of pain and in eternal peace. He was born November 26, 1955 in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of Kathryn Lewis Rainey and the late Harry Graham Rainey.

Waverly graduated from Pfeiffer College with his Bachelor of Arts in Religion. Later, he received his Master’s Degree in Church Music with an emphasis in voice and conducting from Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Waverly loved music and used it to express his faith and give back to the community in many ways. His interest in music was influenced by his mother, Kathy Rainey, and his maternal ancestor, Lamar Stringfield, founder of the North Carolina Symphony and its first conductor. For 30 years, Waverly brought joy to children, youth and adults by teaching them how to sing, play the piano, and play the guitar.

Waverly went after his dreams with courage, confidence and passion. In 1987, the West Atlanta Douglas Choral Society, Inc. (WADCS) was established with charter members Waverly Rainey, William Callaway and Mary Faye Otwell in Douglasville, Georgia. As the Artistic Director/Conductor of the chorale, Waverly lead his singers in so many beautiful Christmas and Easter/Spring concerts with guest artists including Mr. Hector Olivera (world-renowned concert organist) and The United States Army Ground Forces Concert Band which performs for the President of the United States. The chorale performed in local churches and schools, at The Lighting of the Rich’s Great Tree at Underground Atlanta, in Saint Philip Cathedral in Atlanta,Georgia, and in the State Capitol of Georgia for the United States of America Commemoration of Vietnam War fallen, missing and living veterans.

“Waverly, now you have your beautiful baritone voice back and can sing your favorite hymns and songs with an orchestra or sing a John Denver song playing your guitar.” said Mary FayeOtwell.

Thirty-three years ago Waverly met Mary Faye Otwell, who has been his angel and loving companion ever since. For many years, Wave Watermelon and Mary Marshmallow taught swimming lessons every summer to people from four years old to 76 years old. Waverly and Mary Faye tried to take away the fear of swimming by giving each beginner swimmer a fun nickname, like Thomas Tomato and Josh Jellybean, and make swimming lessons fun by saying things like “Let me see your chipmunk cheeks!”

Survivors include Waverly’s loving, devoted companion, Mary Faye Otwell of Douglasville,Georgia, his mother, Kathryn Lewis Rainey of Durham, North Carolina, sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Jeff Arritt of Richmond, Virginia, and a number of aunts, uncles and cousins.

The family will receive friends at Hightower’s Memorial Chapel in Douglasville, Georgia onThursday, December 20, 2018 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. A Funeral Service will be conducted on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 11:00am in Hightower’s Memorial Chapel in Douglasville, Georgia with Rev. Dr. Edwin Jones of Bright Star United Methodist Church, Douglasville, Georgia and Rev. Cecil Donahue of Center United Methodist Church, Greensboro, North Carolina, officiating.

Because music was Waverly’s passion, contributions may be made to a musical organization of your choice or to the American Liver Foundation at or 39 Broadway, Suite 2700, New York, NY 10006, 212.668.1000 in lieu of flowers.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of James Waverly Rainey, please visit our Tribute Store.


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