Jack Rains '60 July 11, 2023 11:36 AM updated: July 11, 2023 12:01 PM
The Honorable Jack Morris Rains
November 23, 1937 - July 5, 2023
On Wednesday, July 5, 2023 the world lost a legendary Texan, revered American Patriot, and unwavering Texas Aggie. Jack was a monumental figure in business, politics and dedicated community leader, husband, father, and friend. Jack Rains proudly served as the 95th Secretary of State of Texas.
Jack Morris Rains was born in Waco, Texas on November 23, 1937 to Marge and O. B. Rains. Early in his childhood, the family moved to the deep Piney Woods of Shelby County in East Texas where they lived a life reminiscent of the pioneer days, without running water or electricity.
Jack’s grandfather woke the kids each morning around 4:00 AM, calling, “Get up, it’s time to do chores. You’re burning daylight.” Jack’s mother prevailed in her insistence to move the family to Port Arthur for Jack’s high school, where Jack graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1956, and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout.
After graduation, Jack was a determined student at Texas A&M University when he arrived in the Fall of ’56. He ran track and became a member of the Corp of Cadets, proudly graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, under the leadership of Gen. James Earl Rudder. Jack believed that his involvement with the Corps fundamentally shaped his life course and prepared him for the remarkable successes that followed. Jack never took off his class ring and wore it with pride throughout his life, an enduring connection to his alma mater. After graduating from Texas A&M University, Jack took a two-year leave of absence from his job at Prudential Insurance Company, from 1960 to 1962 while on active military duty and from 1964-1967, while attending law school.
Following his dreams to become a lawyer, Jack graduated with honors with a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston College of Law in 1967. Jack was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the US Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, the US Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, the Federal District Court, Southern District of Texas, and the Supreme Court of the State of Texas. Jack has been an Attorney, Of Counsel with Gray Reed since 1994. Jack's achievements extended beyond the boundaries of Texas A&M and the U of H Law School.
In 1969, Rains began his tenure as managing partner for architectural firm Neuhaus+Taylor. Subsequently, he led the merger of that firm with two engineering firms, ultimately taking the newly combined entity public in 1971. Two years thereafter marked another milestone in Rains' career path, after he completed what was reportedly the first leveraged buyout in Securities and Exchange Commission history, taking the firm into private ownership. For over 20 years, Rains captained 3D/I through a period of impressive growth, amounting to an annual construction volume of $2-plus billion through a combination of internal growth and strategic acquisitions. Rains advanced through the corporate hierarchy to become Chief Operating Officer and President before ultimately assuming the role of Chairman of the Board. Rains eventually stepped down from 3D/I in 1988, responding to a call from Texas Governor Bill Clements to serve as Secretary of State of Texas.
Jack is a former Director of the Texas Medical Center, a Trustee at Baylor College of Medicine and Visitor’s Member of M.D. Anderson Hospital.
Jack served on many civic boards and executive committees, in multiple capacities, including the Houston Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Council, Houston Advanced Research Center, the Houston Economic Development Council, and the Houston World Trade Organization. Jack was Founding Chair of the Houston Job Training Partnership Council, Texas Department of Commerce, Veteran’s Land Board, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and on the Task Force on International Business at Texas A&M University. Jack was a 60+ year Master Mason.
Jack’s deep involvement with Texas A&M lasted a half a century and included serving as Vice President and Director of The Association of Former Students, the President’s Council, the Target 2000 Council, Twelfth Man Foundation and Texas Aggie Bar Association. He was Muster Leader and commencement speaker. Jack could be seen at Kyle Field watching Texas Aggie football and singing the Aggie War Hymn.
In recognition of his incredible commitment to public service, Jack was appointed Founding Chairman of the Board of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority in 1997. Jack played a pivotal role in the finance, architectural design, and construction of Minute Maid Park (formerly Enron Field) thus retaining the Houston Astros baseball team. It is affectionately known as the “House That Jack Built.” Jack was instrumental in the development of NRG Stadium, a landmark achievement. Jack helped Bob McNair secure approval from the NFL to bring the Texans’ Football Team to Houston. His efforts oversaw the construction of innovative facilities for Houston’s MLB Astros, NFL Texans, and NBA Rockets franchises at an infrastructure cost exceeding One Billion Dollars.
Throughout his life, Jack personally mentored and inspired thousands of people. For those he counselled, Jack Rains emulated how he was enriched from the leadership of the powerbrokers of Houston’s fabled Lamar Hotel, Suite 8F, who took Jack under their wings when he was in his 20s. “Uncle Jack” selflessly shared his wisdom, humor and supported his “children” encouraging and helping them navigate life, love, business, or politics. Jack left an indelible mark on those he encountered. We take pride and comfort in knowing that his “children” and friends carry the best part of Jack’s humor, wisdom, and experiences in their psyche. Through them, the Lord, his family, and friends, “Uncle Jack’s” legacy is secure.
Jack was devoted to his faith in God. Humble and ethical, he did the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. He was the person you called when things went south. He knew instinctively how to solve problems. Jack shone as a gallant and consummate gentleman. His charm and humility, coupled with his steadfast values, made him a true gentleman in every sense: always gentle, never weak. He possessed immense strength, innate leadership, and a commanding baritone voice coupled with his signature East Texas drawl made the room fall silent.
While Jack’s life was rich in public achievements, so was his private life. Towards the end of his life, after being single for 30 years, Jack married Karen Bradshaw.
Jack fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. They broke the mold when Jack was born.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, Marge Morris Rains & Otis Berlin Rains; brother, Douglas S. Rains; sister, Carolyn Keith; his much beloved son-in-law, Nick Waters; and many uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Jack is survived by his devoted wife, Karen Bradshaw Rains; much-loved children, Sharon Rains Whitus and spouse Brad, Misti Rains-Waters, Thomas Kenney Dixon Rains and spouse Kelly, and Victoria Catherine Bradshaw; his grandchildren, Hunter Waters, Jaxx Waters, Jack Thomas Dixon Rains, Holden Waters, Mariah Kenney Whitus & Anne Christine Whitus, Michael Ryan Mitchell, Heather Elizabeth Mitchell; great-grandchildren, Caroline, Caden and Cilus; and his former wife, Aileen Dixon Rains.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from 4:30pm until 7:30pm on Friday, July 14th in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A funeral service is to be conducted at 11am on Saturday, July 15th at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Boulevard in Houston, where the Rev. Reagan Cocke will officiate. For those unable to attend, the service will be livestreamed and may be accessed at https://sjd.org/rains.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family and share remembrances during a reception in the adjacent Sumners Hall.
The interment service will be held at High Noon on Monday, July 17th at Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota Street in Austin.
A Celebration of The Life and Legacy of Jack Morris Rains will be held at Texas A&M University, to be announced at a later date.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Jack’s name be directed to the Jack Rains ’60 Memorial Scholarship Fund at tx.ag/JackRains; or to the charity of your choice.
IN THE CARE OF
Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors