Mary Esther Josephine (Mitchell) Rayner
Mass of Christian burial for Mary Esther Josephine (Mitchell) Rayner, 92, Clinton resident, will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, officiated by Father Thomas Pudoto.
A wake service will be at 7 p.m. today in the Kiesau Memorial Chapel of the Kiesau-Lee Funeral Home in Clinton.
Mrs. Rayner was born May 1, 1921, to Christopher and Kathleen (Finnegan) Mitchell in Dublin, Ireland, and died Thursday, April 24, 2014, at Integris Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City.
She started her life in Ireland, but as a small girl moved with her family to England. She graduated from St. Helena School in 1936.
She attended nursing school in Liverpool, England, and worked at the Paddington Hospital in London. She continued her education to become a Registered Fever Nurse at the Royal College, and she took an additional two years in clinical specialty in childhood and communicable diseases.
She was married to Ira Lloyd Rayner on Dec. 8, 1944, in London, England. The young couple made their way back to Oklahoma and settled in Custer City. She became an American citizen soon after her arrival.
Mrs. Rayner started her working career at the Thomas hospital. She also worked for many years at the Clinton hospital, where she also taught at the nursing school.
The family moved to Clinton in 1955.
She helped to organize and operated many of Clinton’s family services. She was the first Custer County Civil Defense director. She organized the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse Treatment Program in Clinton, helped to write the first grant for the CA.R.E. Program, served on the board of the Western Oklahoma Literacy Council and on the board of directors for the Custer County Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Also, she helped in writing grants to help build the District Headquarters of the Highway Patrol station, served as president-elect of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, the district task force on Child Abuse Prevention, and supported the Family Violence Prevention and Services Acts. She also prepared written guidelines on child safety for use by schools and helped establish the
Action Associates Women’s Crisis Shelter.
Mrs. Rayner helped to establish the Register Nursing School at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. She had written many other grants and volunteered many hours of service for the betterment of Clinton and western Oklahoma.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, served as a Boy and Girl Scout Den Mother, and received countless awards and recognition but was most proud of the DIANA Award that was presented to her by the Beta Psi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority at the state level.
Many years ago she entered a contest and coined the phrase that Clinton still uses today, “Hub City of Western Oklahoma.”
She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Herbert Mitchell and John Mitchell.
Survivors include her husband, Ira, of the home; four sons, Terry Rayner, of California, Bob Rayner and Danny Rayner and his wife, Jeannette, all of Oklahoma City, and Chris Rayner, of Clinton; seven grandchildren, Brandon Rayner, Brian Rayner, Matthew Rayner, Johnathan Rayner, Lilliana Rayner, Michelle Adams and Danielle Dodson; two great-grandchildren; and nephews and nieces that live in Australia.
Burial will be in the Clinton Cemetery.