In Memory

Jack Rayner - Class Of 1961


Rayner, Jack Earl - 72, of Flagstaff, Arizona, died August 2, 2014, with his family and friends by his side. He was born in Goodrich, Michigan on December 26th; the son of Earl and Violet Rayner. He graduated from Western Michigan University in 1963, and then proudly served in the U.S. Air Force as a KC-135 pilot during the Vietnam conflict. After leaving the Air Force he enjoyed life as a commercial pilot until his retirement. He is survived by his loving son Jeffrey, daughter-in-law Sheryl, and beloved grandson, Jacob. He is also survived by his sisters, Sandra Nail, Sharon Fisher, and Carol McElroy, as well as his many nieces and nephews. He was a master storyteller who especially loved a joke at his own expense. His idea of a perfect day was hiking the hills of Flagstaff. He loved adventure and was skydiving as recently as last March. Dogs, photography, and his family made him happy. He was also a creature of habit and would never miss a morning coffee with his friends. He was so loved and he will be enormously missed. A private memorial service is scheduled for this fall. (published in Arizona Republic and printed September 12-14, 2014)

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08/18/14 05:44 PM #1    

Joe Parsons (1961)

I'm so sorry to hear of Jack's passing. Not only was he a brother, but also a good friend while I was at WMU. But as we know, after college our lives go in different directions as we embark on our careers, get married, and have children. Unfortunately with some of us, we lose contact with those college friends we live distant from but develop new friendships in our changed lives.

Earlier this year after Joyce died, I sent Jack and email through this web site but not sure if he received it since I never heard back from him. It could be that he was not very well at that time and did not want to share what he may have been going through. I remember Jack as kind of a quiet guy but enjoyed having a good time. Rest in peace, my friend.

Joe Parsons 

08/19/14 09:49 AM #2    

Larry Wittkop (1961)

Jack and  I were roommates in Henry Hall along with Lee Salo, we had such a good time as they were actives and I was pledging. We moved to the house the next semester that was the summer Jack had such a horrible car accident.  The Brothers really supported Jack when he came back to school, as  had gone through the windshield and before plastic surgery did not look his best. Jack and I entered the USAF Officers Training School together and after school our paths never crossed again.  He was a good friend and I'm sorry about his passing, and after all these years we connected once again on Facebook. I'm sorry it was 50 years to late.


Larry Wittkop

08/19/14 02:50 PM #3    

Bruce Smith (1961)

Jack was my "Big Brother" when I pledged and I always had such great respect for him.  I still often recall with fond humor the night he came back to K'zoo on leave from his USAF training and we spent all night just talking and drinking beer; just the two of us.  The next morning, after my 8:00 O'clock, I got called into the Dean of Men's office and threatened with expulsion because the elderly landlady downstairs had complained about the all-night, intermittent toilet flushing. I'm laughing again right now!  Thanks for the memories, Jack.  You will always be a part of me.

Bruce Smith

08/20/14 11:06 AM #4    

Richard Topp (1961)

Jack was a great guy and fraternity brother. He was involved in a very serious automobile accident had to overcome many hardships. I am sure his family and friends will miss him. Topper

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