March 29, 1931 — Sept. 17, 2019
ELBERTON, GA — Paul Joseph Rayno of Elberton, Georgia, passed away on Sept. 17, 2019. He was 88 years old. Born of French-Canadian forbears in Hudson Falls, during the Depression, he, as a boy, became adept at fishing and hunting, to help his family put food on the table, and at fixing things with “chewing gum and baling wire,” a skill that stood him in good stead for his entire life. In his teens, he and his older brother Glenn drove a truck for Rayno and Sons, a grocery delivery service for the greater Glens Falls area and the region of the southern Adirondacks. In 1949, he graduated from Hudson Falls High School and attended Syracuse University, intending to study journalism, until, in 1950, with the beginning of the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Paul was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he was enrolled in the Airborne Radar Training School and was trained in a highly technical course designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radiation Laboratory. After completing the training, he became an instructor there, teaching the technology of radar.
Paul returned to Hudson Falls during the 1950 Christmas break, riding with six other servicemen in an Oldsmobile as far as Gloversville. There was no room for him in the car, but he talked the driver into letting him ride in the trunk! While at home, he made plans with his high school sweetheart, LaVerne Loveland, to be married soon in Biloxi. LaVerne rode a bus there and they were married by a Justice of the Peace on Feb. 25, 1951.
In March 1953, Paul was transferred to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, where he repaired airborne radar systems in C-124 transport aircraft and made a crucial identification that the capacitors in these systems were being mounted upside down, causing the radar systems to malfunction and the planes to crash into high-elevation mountains.
Paul’s Air Force enlistment ended in July 1954, and he worked as a civilian servicing aircraft until late May 1955, when Paul, LaVerne, and two-year-old Paul Jr. left Alaska in their 1949 Lincoln, bound for Hudson Falls towing a 22-foot Ironwood house trailer, a 4,300-mile trip, 1,700 miles of which were across the entire length of the Alaska Highway. Record rains led to severe flooding and washed-out areas of this treacherous, unpaved road, and over the course of this part of the journey, the Lincoln had a dozen flat tires, a broken camshaft, a failed automatic transmission, a broken wheel, expended wheel bearings, leaking oil seals, a gas tank torn off, and many more minor repairs. The trip, which began on May 1 and ended on July 13, had to be experienced to be believed.
After returning from Alaska, Paul received a number of job offers, including one from Cape Canaveral and one from the El Paso, Texas, division of the White Sands Missile Range, where he would have worked under Werner von Braun in the development of the U.S. rocket program. However, Paul and LaVerne thought it best to remain in Hudson Falls, and Paul took a job in town at General Electric, where he worked in the product testing and development department, where all the plant’s capacitors were tested for failure and for longevity. He worked there until 1967, when he formed his own business, Rayno’s TV and Appliances, and for the next seven years, sold new televisions and appliances, and operated a television repair service as part of this business, which served the greater Glens Falls area and the southernmost region of the eastern Adirondacks. During this period, he earned a well-deserved reputation for honesty and good service to his customers.
Subsequently, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Paul worked for Sherwood Medical in Argyle and Ball Metal Beverage Container in Saratoga Springs. Then, through the rest of the 1980s, he worked, in succession, for the paper-producing companies, James River Corporation and Finch Pruyn in Glens Falls, and then Friehofer’s in Troy. In 1991, he went to work for Burnham Polymeric in South Glens Falls, which produced material for medical catheters.
In 1996, Paul relocated to Elberton, Georgia, where he formed Astrel, Inc., which produced a superior catheter core material. This business continues today, following Paul’s retirement in 2012, under the leadership of Paul’s youngest son Peter.
Paul was a man of many interests and talents. His ability to both fix things, mechanical or electrical, and to design equipment and processes, was indeed quite remarkable. This was most useful to him throughout his varied career.
He was a man of determination. On one occasion, in the summer of 1956, he stated to his fellow workers at General Electric that he could walk from Glens Falls to Albany following U.S. Route 9, a distance of fifty miles, in less than 24 hours. They didn’t believe him and even bet him that he couldn’t do it. He made it easily, in 22 hours and 25 minutes.
He was a lover of music and a talented guitarist, and for many years was part of a Country and Western band, “The Country Gentlemen,” that played many engagements around the upstate New York region where he lived. He particularly admired two guitarists, Chet Atkins and Les Paul, and his excellent style of playing was largely drawn from them.
Paul was a knowledgeable historian, particularly of the period in American history encompassing the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the early founding of the United States. Over a 20-year period, he wrote a weekly newspaper column, “Pioneers and Patriots,” which appeared in the Glens Falls Post Star and subsequently in the Moreau Sun. He served as the town historian for the Town of Kingsbury for a number of years, frequently gave talks on upstate New York local history topics, and authored two books, A Country Village (1975) and Warpaths, Wildcats and Waterfalls (1984).
Having grown up on the southern fringe of the Adirondacks, this region remained a beloved locale to him. There were many summers spent with the family in cottages at Glen Lake, and Trout Lake, but above all, it was Garnet Lake where he loved to go and camp at a primitive campsite that his grandfather Alexander Rayno cleared, and where five generations of Raynos have camped. Inter-generational family excursions to nearby Crane Mountain were an annual event, and the steep, rocky climb was usually rewarded with an abundance of wild blueberries which were gathered by the bucketful and brought home for the making of pies, jams, muffins and other delightful treats. Paul often took his three boys on canoe trips, especially up Long Lake to Raquette River, where they tented along the river bank and did battle with the mosquitos and at time, rain showers.
All the family, and indeed anyone who knew Paul well, will greatly miss his presence, with his entertaining stories of a life fully lived, his affable humor, and his approach to life, where for him, there was never a problem that couldn’t be solved, never an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome, and never an apparatus that couldn’t be built from scratch.
The family wants to express its deepest appreciation to the caregivers who so faithfully ministered to Paul over the last year: Pam, Phyllis, and Dedra with Home Instead, and also, during Paul’s final earthly days, to the staff at Kindred Care Hospice of Athens, Georgia.
Paul is survived by one brother, David D. Rayno of Chipley, Florida; three sons, Paul C. Rayno (Chris) of Whitesboro, New York, Donald R. Rayno (Cindy) of Cary, North Carolina, and Peter W. Rayno of Elberton North Carolina; three granddaughters, Valerie Engel, Amelia Rayno, and Jennifer (Edward) Benn; and one great-grandson, Alexander Benn; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Floral arrangements are accepted and may be sent to the funeral home.
A service of remembrance will be held on Sunday, September 22, at 2:00p.m. at Berry Funeral Home, 1265 Washington Highway, Elberton, GA 30635. Floral arrangements are accepted and may be sent to the funeral home.
A memorial service for both Paul and LaVerne will be held in Salem, NY in the Spring of 2020. Those details will be announced by McClellan-Gariepy Funeral Home once finalized. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Salem.
Berry Funeral Home of Elberton, Georgia is respectfully in charge of arrangements.