Dr. Sylvester Lee "Syl" Rains, 85, a retired public school educator, passed away on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Tyler. Memorial services will be held at the First United Methodist Church of Lindale on Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 2 p.m. with the Rev. Rick Ivey, Dr. Bryan Brown and the Rev. Roddy Bland officiating.
Syl was born on Sept. 6, 1928, in Hutchinson, Kan., to Oscar and Marie Rains. He was a 1945 graduate of Tyler High School. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Tyler Junior College and a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Texas. He began teaching in the Dallas Independent School District in 1949. He taught at Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, where he established and operated the first after-school recreation program in Dallas in cooperation with the West Dallas Social Center and the United Way. He later taught at W.E. Greiner Junior High School in Oak Cliff. He received a Master of Education degree from Southern Methodist University in 1953. He was appointed principal of Ascher Silberstein Elementary School. He received a Doctor of Education degree from the University of North Texas in 1961. He was the first principal of the Harry C. Withers Elementary School and later became principal of John B. Hood Junior High School. In 1969, he was appointed acting director of Prototype Program Development and Process Evaluation in the new Department of Research and Development of the Dallas Independent School District. He established and became director of the Research and Evaluation Center for Learning, a cooperative effort between the school district and the Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Medical School, for the study of learning and learning disabilities.
He served one year as corporate director of education with LTV Education Systems Inc. before joining the Houston Independent School District in 1972 as assistant superintendent for curriculum matters. In 1974, he became deputy superintendent for instruction in the Spring Branch Independent School District. In 1978, he was associate professor of education at Sam Houston State University. District superintendent assignments included the public schools for the city of Savannah and the county of Chatham, Ga., and the Gladewater County Line Independent School District in Texas. He retired from education in 1987 and became a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Hutton and later with Murray Traff Securities. Upon retirement in 1990, he moved to Hide-A-Way Lake, where he enjoyed sailing, golf and tennis.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan Hellinger Rains; his sister, Cherry Ann Rains, of Austin; two daughters, Melinda Gail Rains Smith and husband Schaun, of Kuwait, and Rosanne Rains Beckcom and husband Chris, of Cedar Park; four grandchildren, Zachary Adam Smith, of Binghamton, N.Y., Kelly Joy Smith, of Durango, Colo., Ian Beckcom, of Houston, and Caitlin Beckcom, of Austin
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 367, Lindale, 75771.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Mar. 6, 2014