Lloyd Ivy Rains, a retired U.S. Department of Agricultural marketing official and an avid gardener, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Oct. 16 at the Mays Chapel Ridge assisted-living facility in Timonium. He was 89.
Mr. Rains, the son of sharecroppers, was born and raised in Mathiston, Miss., a rural farming community. He was a 1937 graduate of Bennett Academy and earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Ark., in 1940.
"Dad's dream was to go to college, and it seemed impossible given his circumstances. But he was able to attend college after winning a four-year scholarship to John Brown University," said his daughter, Linda Rains Allman of Phoenix, Baltimore County.
"He was the first person in his entire family to graduate from college, instilling in me and my brother the value of an education," she said. "With no money to return home, he graduated from college in three years."
With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Navy, serving as a pilot and flight engineer.
After the war, he went to work for the USDA in New York City; he later held positions with the agency in Chicago before returning to Silver Spring in 1966. His family later moved Hyattsville.
After retiring in 1978, he moved to Tampa, Fla., where he lived until moving to Mays Chapel Ridge in 2003.
Mr. Rains was a lifetime gardener.
"He had gardens everywhere we lived. He had the most colorful peppers, biggest tomatoes, the sweetest lettuce and the prettiest roses," his daughter said. "He supplied the entire neighborhood."
While living at Mays Chapel Ridge, Mr. Rains was the caretaker of the Wellspring Garden.
His wife of 66 years, the former Rose Ann Montanaro, was an accomplished watercolorist, and Mr. Rains enjoyed making the frames for her paintings. In 2005, the couple were featured in Maryland's Guide to Retirement Living in a cover story titled "She Paints, He Frames."
A memorial service was held Sunday.
Also surviving are a son, Douglas Lloyd Rains of Tampa; a sister, Mavis Love of Fairhope, Ala.; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.