Cover photo for Katherine Virginia (Hobson)  Raines's Obituary
1917 Katherine 2022

Katherine Virginia (Hobson) Raines

August 1, 1917 — October 26, 2022

White Plains, NY

Katherine Virginia (Hobson) Raines would have wanted you to call her Kitty. Born August 1, 1917, she passed away early on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at the age of 105. She was a proud woman who loved compliments, and for several years, regularly bragged about her age. Since she turned 90, she would often demand that any person in earshot should guess how old she was. Beaming, she would tell them (whether they guessed or not), and following their surprise (either genuine or feigned), she would excitedly add that her doctor recently told her he found "nothing wrong" with her health, and wanted to know her secret. At this point, her smile would become serious, and with a flare of the dramatic, she would point towards the sky, "I told him, my God Jehovah is my secret. He has blessed me." Kitty was a devout Jehovah's Witness who proselytized often. That said, earlier in life, she may have said her secret was a daily handful of vitamins washed down by a Scotch on the rocks. But by her 90s, dementia had robbed her of some short term memory, and long term details. In fact, this "recent" doctor's visit she spoke about well into 2022, likely occurred in 2005.

Kitty was a family woman whose long life was both marred by tragedy and brightened with perseverance. A black woman, Kitty was born and raised in New Jersey and studied Social Work at the University of Virginia during the great depression. Her parents -- Virginia Sanders, a seamstress, and Dr. Carver Hobson, a pharmacist -- came north from the Jim Crowe south, but could not escape it. Days before Christmas in 1943, Wallace Hobson, Kitty's 27-year-old, basketball star brother, died suddenly at the Camp Picket Army base in Virginia where he was waiting to be stationed during World War II. When the family pressed for answers, it was all but confirmed, albeit in hushed tones, that Wallace was lynched by his fellow soldiers.

On New Years day 1942, Kitty married William Council Raines, the love of her life. William, an Army veteran, was a flight instructor for the Tuskegee Airman and later went on to be a renowned lawyer and businessman in Harlem, New York. William provided Kitty with a prosperous life; they traveled, they entertained, they hobnobbed. Their circle ran thick with black celebrities and civil rights leaders. Tragically, William was murdered in his law office on June 16, 1985. Kitty never remarried. She spoke glowingly about her husband and often about her wish to be reunited with him.

With her marriage to William, Kitty gained a step-son, Earl E. Raines of Tucson Arizona, aged 90. In 1949, William and Kitty adopted another son William C. Raines Jr. (Billy).
Billy was the light of Kitty's life and passed away in January 2019 at the age of 69.

Despite the tragedy in Kitty's life, her deep bond with religion and her sunny disposition carried her through her toughest moments. She found pure enjoyment and happiness too. She loved music and dancing. She savored good food, and though she did not care much for cooking, she was known far and wide for her southern style "fried corn," made with fresh sweet corn and condensed milk in a skillet. She especially enjoyed indulging in chocolate cake and ice cream. Kitty loved the small things in life; she found joy in liberally handing out compliments, to strangers and loved ones alike, just for a chance to make people smile. She had a keen fashion sense and took immense pride in looking her best. This pride translated to her homes as well. As an amateur interior designer, she took pleasure in designing her household "just so." Everything had to be pristine and immaculate. After all, "cleanliness is next to Godliness," she would often say. She was handy, and well into her eighties would pull out the tool box and step ladder to take care of anything that needed doing (always over her family's objections).

Kitty is survived by Billy's children, her grandson William C. Raines III, 40 and granddaughter Amanda Raines, 38, whom she adored. She is also survived by her step-son, Earl, and her great-granddaughter Alexa Kona Raines, 12.

A memorial service will be held in person and virtually on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall for Jehovah's Witnesses, 155 Orawaupum St, White Plains, NY 10606.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Katherine Virginia (Hobson) Raines, please visit our flower store.

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Kingdom Hall for Jehovah's Witnesses

155 Orawaupum Street, White Plains, NY 10606

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