Jeffrey Michael Rainer, 75, passed away on August 14, 2022, in White Plains, NY.
Jeff was born on May 23, 1947 in the Bronx, to Dr. John D. Rainer and Barbara Rainer. From his earliest days his passion was music, which always filled their house. Piano lessons under Alexander Petruska spanned his entire youth. He graduated from Eastchester High School in 1965, going on to earn a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Columbia University. Jeff was taught by Nadia Boulanger at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, earned a diploma in chamber music performance from the Taos School of Music in New Mexico, a post-graduate diploma in piano performance from Mannes College of Music (studying with Murray Perahia and others), and a master's degree in piano performance with a minor in journalism from NYU, mentored by Bella Shumiatcher.
Jeff performed in recitals and as a soloist with orchestras in America and Europe. He was a vocal coach, music therapist, choral conductor, music journalist, church organist, and accompanist for singers, instrumentalists, and dance classes. He could instantly transpose a piece of music into a multitude of keys, which helped during spirited singalongs with family and friends.
Along with years of private teaching, he was a faculty member of the Westchester Conservatory, the Shumiatcher School, Mercy College and Sarah Lawrence College. For over twenty years he taught string, brass and wind instruments to all ages and levels of students within the Katonah-Lewisboro school district.
Jeff married Iwona (née Furmanik) of Żyrardów, Poland in 1972 in White Plains, with a Catholic ceremony at St. Anne's Church in Warsaw the following year. Their love story, initiated by a chance encounter in a palace garden in Warsaw, prepared the way for 50 years of marital discovery and devotion. They raised their three children - Marta, Jeremy and Alexander - in White Plains, often returning to Poland during the summers.
Spiritually, Jeff also found sustenance in nature, his Jewish cultural traditions, and love of family. He was fueled by endless interests: collecting recordings by the thousands, concert-going (from Sviatoslav Richter to Pete Seeger), classical radio DJ-ing, learning languages, traveling, playing tennis, immersing himself in history, recycling, volunteering at the Clearwater Revival, scouring tag sales, putting ketchup on everything, demonstrating feats of memory, sharing puns, always taking scenic byways, and declaring every meal "the best I ever ate."
From Jeff's gentle, curious and humble demeanor to his immeasurable concern for his family and friends - and his lifelong advocacy for the environment - he treated the world around him with absolute respect and care. He was considerate and thoughtful, protective, loyal and devoted. He was absolutely beloved as a son, brother, husband, father, cousin, uncle, teacher and friend.
Jeff is survived by wife Iwona Rainer, sons Jeremy and Alexander Rainer, daughter Marta Rainer and son-in-law Paul Michael Valley, brother Peter Rainer, cousin June Meehan and extended family and friends on three continents. He is preceded in death by his father Dr. John D. Rainer, and mother Barbara Rainer.
A Celebration of Jeff's Life will be held on October 1, 2022, at 10:30am at Ballard-Durand funeral home in White Plains, NY. Burial will be attended privately by immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Jeff M. Rainer's name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research https://www.michaeljfox.org/ or the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/ .