American Veteran 01

Mr. Rainey James Crawford, Jr.

November 10, 1939 ~ October 19, 2020 (age 80)


GOD-Fearing, Family-Focused, Business Leader & Servant Leader

Chapter I – GOD-Fearing:

Rainey James Crawford, Jr., was a dedicated servant of Christ. Rainey was born in Venice, Illinois, on November 10, 1939, to Rainey Crawford, Sr., and Geneva Crawford. Rainey accepted Christ at an early age. Rainey was baptized at New Salem Baptist Church when he was 11 years old. Rainey was an active member of First Baptist Church of Chesterfield, until he and his wife, Thelma (Fields) Crawford, moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to Kansas City, Missouri, in 1994. Rainey immediately became an active member of St. James United Methodist Church, pastored by Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver II. As a member of St. James, Rainey was a member of the Men’s Choir, Bible Study, and Usher Board.

As the patriarch of the family, Rainey shared his love for Christ. Rainey organized a monthly family prayer call that has been going strong for the last 10 years and is multi-generational. Every month he would guide the family in faithful prayers, Bible teachings, encouragement, and “Teachable Moments”. The calls have grown to include family and friends from eight states and often occur more than once a month. 

Chapter II – Family-Focused:

Rainey put Family First. His love for family was exemplified through his marriage of 55 years to his wife, Thelma. Rainey and Thelma had two children, Rainey James Crawford III (preceded in death) and Sharon Marie Butler. However, Rainey was a father-figure/mentor to so many more. Rainey’s love extended to his nephews and nieces. Any young person whom he had a chance to spend some time with, immediately wanted to adopt him as their own. Rainey’s love for his children was only superseded by his love for his grandchildren, Blake Calvin Butler and Raini Alexis Butler. As a grandfather, Rainey did not miss one special moment. Rainey would spend weeks with them to relieve the parents and call them daily, not including the frequent texts, to impart knowledge, but mostly just to share his love for them.

Chapter III – Business Leader:

Rainey was multi-faceted. A core value of his was how he treated people and appreciated education. As a graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Health Education, he was immediately drafted to play baseball for the Kansas City Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals (three years). Rainey later obtained his Master’s from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in Guidance and Counseling. This afforded him great success as a U.S. Army Reservist and National Ambassador for the U.S. Army.

He then began working for the St. Louis Human Resources Development Corporation as a counselor and community developer, as well as teaching in the St. Louis Public Schools. For the next 36 years, Rainey worked for Ford Motor Company. While at Ford, Rainey obtained his MBA in Advanced Management from Michigan State University. Rainey worked in Labor Relations for Ford across the country, including Toledo, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and St. Louis, Missouri. During his tenure at Ford, Rainey led Ford’s Government Affairs efforts in 13 states from Kansas City, Missouri. In 2005, Rainey retired as Ford’s Regional Director of Governmental Affairs.

Chapter IV – Servant Leader:

Rainey parlayed his role with Ford to help others. He committed his life to fighting for social justice and against political injustices. His commitment to his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, and the Boule Sigma Pi Phi, centered on community outreach and impacting those in need. Those volunteer efforts included the Urban League, NAACP (scholarship programs), and volunteering in nursing homes and Civic Feed the Homeless programs.

Rainey also loved to introduce the young and old to the game of golf, and his passion for golf was shared with many. He used the game to spend quality time and teach so many life skills. Rainey served on the local municipal golf board, which allowed him to share his passion of the game while expanding it into different areas of the community. 
Rainey was the definition of a servant leader.

Final Chapter – In Memory of a Life Well-Lived:

Rainey is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Thelma; daughter, Sharon; son-in-law, Calvin Butler; grandchildren, Blake Calvin and Raini Alexis Butler; sister, Lois Brazil (Sherman); mother-in-law, Eula Fields; sisters-in-law, Evelyn (Angelo Newman) Debro, Margaret Love, Joy (Herb) Miller, and Lottie (Eric) Ryans; goddaughter, Emily (Jaime) Luna; and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and special friends.




PLEASE NOTE: In Lieu of flowers the family has requested donations to the two charities listed:

St. James United Methodist Church Men's Sunday School

5540 Wayne Ave. Kansas City, MO 64110 Re: In Honor of Rainey J Crawford

Theta Educational Foundation of Kansas City: c/o Robin Royals

7214 Noland Rd. Shawnee, KC 62216

To send flowers to Mr. Rainey James Crawford, Jr.'s family, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


View/Walk Thru
October 25, 2020

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Baucom's Life Celebration Center
9480 Lewis and Clark Blvd.
Saint Louis, Missouri 63136

Celebration of Life
October 26, 2020

10:30 AM
Baucom's Life Celebration Center
9480 Lewis and Clark Blvd.
Saint Louis, Missouri 63136

Interment following Celebration of Life
October 26, 2020

Bellefontaine Cemetery
4947 West Florissant
Saint Louis, Missouri, MO 63115

Please note
We are under guidelines of practicing social distancing while on the property and inside the facilities of Baucom's Life Celebration Center & Precious Memories Services. We will allow up to 50 persons to enter the facilities. Individuals must wear a face mask upon entry and wear gloves or utilize hand sanitizers. No gatherings on the parking lot will be permitted. **NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS ARE AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME**


St. James United Methodist Church Men's Sunday School
5540 Wayne Avenue, Kansas City MO 64110

Theta Educational Foundation of Kansas City
7214 Noland Road, Shwnee KS 62216

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