Knoxville – John Earl Rainwater entered his heavenly home on July 14, 2023 after a long, courageous battle with Corticobasal Syndrome and Lewy Body Dementia and it’s complications. Earl was born on September 5, 1936 to Ruby and Clyde Rainwater.
Earl is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Virginia, his daughters Sheri (Derwin) Hagood and Sissie (Glenn) Hargreaves; grandchildren Haley (Ray) Flanery, Taylor (Kait) Hagood, Hannah (Reese) Oppenheimer, Holly Hagood (Fianc? Thomas Keyes), Megan (Dalton) Day, Capt. Matthew (Caitlin) Hargreaves, great grandson Hudson Knox Hagood, Brother Carl (Ruthie) Rainwater, Sisters-in-Law Ilene Rainwater and Sallye Emerson, Nephew Doug Rainwater.
Earl is preceded in death by his son, James Wiley Rainwater, Twin Brother, George Burl Rainwater, parents Ruby and Clyde Rainwater, Nephew, Todd Rainwater.
Earl was born and raised in Knoxville. He graduated from Fulton High School in 1954. He graduated from The University of Tennessee in 1960 with BS and JD degrees. At UT, he was president of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Editor of the Volunteer Yearbook. Earl’s loyalty to Sigma Phi Epsilon lasted his lifetime and he received the Distinguished Brother Award and the National Award for Exemplary Service, and their highest honor of The Order of The Golden Heart.
Earl was a Judge Advocate in The United States Air Force at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX. In 1963, he and Virginia married and in 1964, he became an Estate, Gift and Inheritance Attorney with the IRS in Nashville and Knoxville. In 1970, he entered private practice in Knoxville and practiced with Hugh Tapp and Perry Shields and later with Rainwater, Humble, Vowell and Tipton Law Firm until his retirement.
Earl’s true passion was his family. He was a loving son, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a loving and loyal friend to many people. He enjoyed time spent with his family at The Rainwater Farm in Chestnut Hill, TN, picnics and cooking breakfast in the Smoky Mountains by the river, boating with family and friends, beach trips, and especially travel. On his and Virginia’s 50TH anniversary, they visited Hawaii, which completed their desire to travel to all 50 United States.
Earl was a man of integrity and faith who served his community well. Among his numerous community activities, he was a member of Cokesbury United Methodist Church for 48 years. He served on the UT Development Council, The Knoxville Nativity Pageant Advisory Board, The Sertoma Center Development Board, Agape Board, YMCA Board, Saint Mary’s Hospital Development Board, Tanasi Girl Scout Council Board, and Knoxville Estate Planning Council. He was a member of East Knoxville Kiwanis Club, American, Tennessee and Knoxville Bar Associations. He was very active in the Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Association. Earl enjoyed
his Sig Ep lunch group, planning and traveling with his Sig Ep friends on several cruises and annual weekend trips with his Sig Ep Bed and Breakfast group for 30 years.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Lawrence Hookman, Dr. Douglas Leahy, Dr. Ty Kirby and Dr. Monica Crane, and UT Hospice for his care, as well as sitters Amanda, Sultana and John. The family appreciates the excellent and loving care Earl received at Arbor Terrace Memory Care and sitters Anthony, Dee and Josh. A special thanks to the close friends who visited with him often during the last few months.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Cokesbury Church at 9908 Kingston Pike on Saturday, July 22nd at 2:00 PM. Visitation and a Reception will follow the service. A private burial will be held at Middle Creek United Methodist Church Cemetery in Sevierville.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Cokesbury United Methodist Church, 9919 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922 or UT Hospice, 4435 Valley View Rd, Suite 104, Knoxville, TN 37917.