Obituary, Andrew Dennis Rainville, 1929-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary, Andrew Dennis Rainville, 1929-2021

Lifelong Franklin resident and his wife raised 12 children on a 500-acre dairy farm

Published September 22, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated September 22, 2021 at 8:13 a.m.

Andy Rainville - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Andy Rainville

Andrew "Andy" Rainville completed his life with us on September 16, 2021, at his home surrounded by family, less than one mile from the farmhouse where he was born 91 years ago.

Sixty-nine years ago, in 1952, he married Imogene "Gigi" Columb, who survives him. He had courted her during her nurse's training at the Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital in Burlington, Vt., frequently driving the three-hour round trip from Morses Line in Franklin after a long day of work on the farm. She graduated with high honors, and he was honored when she accepted the marriage proposal. Through thick and thin, he held her in high regard. Together they raised 12 children on the 500-acre dairy farm in Franklin overlooking Lake Carmi with mountains in Canada and Jay Peak in the background. Andy cherished the spectacular view, frequently sitting in his easy chair in front of the picture window during his last years.

Andy treasured his family, and, after retiring, he spent countless hours working on each of their home projects, performing carpentry, plumbing, planting, cutting unwanted trees and countless cords of wood, and any other job that needed attention. He was fearless with a chain saw and took on projects others avoided — sometimes with good reason! He loved working in the woods and continued to harvest timber, often alone, regardless of weather conditions, at age 86. During maple sugaring season, he handled firewood to fire the arch and would outwork men half his age while telling visitors one of his long repertoire of jokes. A born storyteller, he was tickled whenever someone appreciated his sense of humor; to him, obtaining a laugh was a gift as good as gold.

On the farm, Andy excelled at growing crops, breeding and raising dairy cattle, and learning progressive methods of balancing feed rations. During the 1960s and 1970s, he and Gigi — she worked in the fields and barn for years, even when pregnant — continuously produced some of the highest herd averages for milk and butterfat production in the county. At their auction in 1980, the cattle brought exceptionally high prices, even though they were unregistered grades, because farmers wanted the genetic breeding lines he had developed. Two of his brothers got into a bidding war over one of the best cows, and “the winner” paid a premium, causing the crowd to cheer.

In addition to his wife, Andy is survived by his 12 children: Andrea (Chris) Blanchard of Florida; A. Gregory (Tracey) Rainville of Georgia, Vt.; Michael (Judy) Rainville of Arizona; Stephen (Eddie) Rainville of North Ferrisburg, Vt.; Alicia (Hossein) Aghamehdi of Pennsylvania; Roseanne (Chris) Towne of Milton, Vt.; Celia (Craig) Rainville of Essex, Vt.; Monica Rainville of Pennsylvania; Matthew Rainville of Franklin, Vt.; James (Therese) Rainville of Burlington, Vt.; Elaine (Michael) Archambault of Georgia, Vt.; and Martha (Michele) Rainville of Pennsylvania.

Additional survivors include 21 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Roger and Denise Rainville of Swanton, Vt.; sister, Aline Magnant of St. Albans, Vt.; sister-in-law Elizabeth Rainville of Franklin, Vt.; sister-in-law Lucille Rainville of Franklin, Vt., sister-in-law Marjorie Columb of St. Albans, Vt.; brother-in-law Alfred T. Columb of New Hampshire; and sister-in-law Mary Korzun of New Hampshire.

Andy is predeceased by his parents, Wilfrid and Alsyma Rainville; sister and brother-in-law Rita and George Parent; two brothers, Richard Rainville and Clemente Rainville; brother-in-law Cedric Columb; brother-in-law John Korzun; brother-in-law Claude Magnant; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Gary and Sheila Stanley; and grandson Rob Stanhope.

Lacking a high school education but equipped with innate intelligence, Andy managed to “ace” the exam without studying, receiving a GED certificate on August 25, 1983, at the age of 54. Andy was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 54 years and served on the Franklin Town Zoning Board for several years. He was a stalwart member of the National Farmers Organization (NFO) in the 1970s. As a lifelong member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Franklin, he was baptized, confirmed, married and his funeral will be held there on Saturday September 25, 2021, at 1 p.m. Calling hours will be held at the Goss Funeral Home, 96 Dickinson Ave., Enosburg, VT on Friday, September 24, 2021, from 4 to 7 p.m. For everyone’s safety, the family requests visitors to wear a face mask and to social distance.

Contributions in Andy’s memory may be made either to St. Mary’s Cemetery, P.O. Box 563, 222 Mississquoi St., Enosburg Falls, VT 05450 or to Franklin County Home Health Agency, 3 Home Health Circle, St. Albans, VT 05478.

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