Friday, February 27, 2009

Rex Rains is now offline

As February comes to an end, most of us here at the OOIDA headquarters will think of it as the month we lost an extraordinary friend and staff member – our peerless Webmaster Rex Rains. Rex died Feb. 17 after a long and wretched battle with cancer. He once described it to me as hand-to-hand combat with a – I will omit the expletive – invisible enemy.

He was born in Wichita, KS, and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. The most important elements of his life were clearly his four sons, Zach Rains and Noah Rains, of Dexter, MO, Jacob Rains of Kansas City, MO, and Rex Rains II of Rock Ledge, FL. And of course, his mom, Geneva, known to us as “Mother Rains.”

He came to OOIDA as our first PC tech many years ago. For more than 10 years, he served as Webmaster for all of our OOIDA, Land Line Magazine and Land Line Now Web sites.

Rex was 48 when he died. He said in Webmaster years, 48 was the “new” 68. He explained that this was because as a Webmaster, you spent your whole – I will omit the expletive – career in a little office glued to a computer writing HTML code, fixing stuff, posting, updating info, solving problems, giving people new passwords and much more.

He often groused that it had been 12 years since he had seen daylight.

It’s sad when you lose someone that’s a regular part of your life. Then why is it that when we speak of Rex, we can’t help smiling? Let me explain.

His dry sense of humor was matchless. He was a great cook. His homemade beef jerky was superb, and he made plenty for all. He had great musical taste, played several instruments, and was THE virtual guitar king. At Halloween, he put everyone else’s efforts to shame. The year he dressed up as a Girl Scout will forever stand out in OOIDA’s employee history.

His nickname was Crack Daddy and for whatever story is told in an attempt to explain that name, none of them had anything to do with illegal drugs.

He was a military history buff and that likely led him to be part of a project that produced extensive documentation on the Holocaust.

Most of you reading this didn’t know him personally, but everything you’ve read on this Web site and the other OOIDA sites for the past 10 years has had the expert fingerprints of Crack Daddy Rex Rains all over it.

Maybe it’s because his job provided interaction with virtually every department in the organization, or maybe it’s because Rex was such an out-of-the ordinary guy to know, but the number of people who turned out at his funeral Saturday and the wonderful stories that were told are evidence of how much he will be missed.


  1. I am so sorry to see such a wonderful man like that pass away
    far too soon! Please extend my deepest sympathies to his family in this time of grief. May their faith give them strength. Rest
    in Peace, Mr. Rex Rains....

  2. Rest in peace, Rex!

  3. I am former LTL driver, now one of the web team for a large office supplier and I know exactly what it means to never see the light of day. I still enjoy reading LandLine online. Peace to you, Webmaster Raines.

  4. OOIDA clearly has more than the usual share of great people. Rex helped many of us truckers even though it was indirectly. His efforts helped us have a better industry.

    Danny Schnautz

  5. To: all interested

    Hello Landline Now readers. Please excuse the belatedness of this message. I know nothing of your organization, I have nothing to do with the union or trucking industry. Purely by chance I came across the death announcement (dated 2009) of Rex Raines, it startled me. You see Rex and I served together in the Army, we were stationed together in Atlanta (Fort McPherson) Georgia in the 80’s of the last century. If you can speak of best friends then he, at that moment, in time was my best friend. I was then an MP and he was a clerk in the MP station, I used to kid him by calling him our secretary, he laughed as he always did, but he always had a sarcastic chide to offer back. For a couple of years we were an inseparable team, then he got married and left the service, I heard that later on he life he rejoined. We were so young then, we didn’t even realize how young! At that moment in time we were standing at the on ramp of a long winding highway that slowly disappeared into the horizon. And that horizon was our life. Unfortunately Rex’s journey was cut short, much too short. The last time I spoke to Rex was around 2005. He told me that he was then webmaster from this site. He was proud of this accomplishment; he said literally “not a bad job for somebody that has never had a computer course in his life”. “In the old days” his favorite song was “Tequila Sunrise” by the Eagles. Which is really a fitting visual metaphoric ending to this message. I want to remember Rex in my mind riding off into the sunset, laughing his sarcastic little laugh, with a bottle of tequila in his hand; beginning the next journey that we all have to face one day. Rex will never be offline for me.

    I’m proud to have know Rex Raines!

  6. The Grave

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there.
    I do not sleep.

    I am a thousand winds that blow.
    I am the diamond glint on the snow.
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
    I am the autumn rain.

    When you awake in the morning hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    of birds circling in flight
    I am the stars that shine at night.

    Do not stand at my grave and weep.
    I am not there.
    I do not sleep.


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