BY ANDREAS BUTLER
A “Celebration of Life’’ service was held Wednesday for Theresa Vivian Crosslin Gainous, a retired Daytona Beach teacher and former owner of R.J. Gainous Funeral Home. Mrs. Gainous died on Oct. 11 in her home. She was 90 years old.
The service took place at Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Daytona Beach followed by interment at Greenwood Cemetery.
The retired teacher spent most of her years teaching at Bonner Elementary in Daytona and some at Collins Elementary in Pompano Beach.
Couple met at college
Gainous was the wife of the late Dr. Rabbi J. Gainous, founder of R.J. Gainous Funeral home. He also had been a science teacher and science department chairman at Bethune-Cookman.
“The couple met while they attended Bethune-Cookman. They often met at Peppers Restaurant nearby. Dr. Gainous always spoke of how he used to play the song, ‘You are so beautiful’ for her,” commented Edward Jennings.
Bettye Jennings added, “She was all about her husband. Mr. Gainous came first in her life. She never put anyone before him.”
According to the funeral home’s website, in the early 194’s Albert Bethune, son of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded the Bethune Funeral Home. At the time, it was located on the corner of Lincoln and Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.
Dr. Gainous wanted to expand his science career to include science. He became a licensed funeral director and embalmer and purchased the Bethune establishment, re-naming it R.J. Gainous Funeral Home.
New proprietor in 2003
As business progressed, he relocated to 804 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. He worked the business until his death in November 2001.
“Having no family to carry on his legacy, Mrs. Gainous relied solely on their well-trained and highly skilled godson, Alexander C. Wynn, III to manage the family business,” the website states.
Wynn became the sole proprietor of the funeral home in May 2003. He honored the wishes of Dr. Gainous that the establishment remains as R.J. Gainous Funeral Home.
‘Good friend, excellent teacher’
Those who knew Mrs. Gainous remembers her as a quiet, caring woman.
“She was a good friend and excellent teacher. She was my intern when I was a teacher and she was in college. She was straight up and always spoke the truth.
She was caring and friendly to all. She was quiet but positive,” recalls Geneva Loper.
Vivian Charles recalled, “I knew her through my aunt that taught with her at Bonner. She was very quiet, reclusive, dignified, and spiritual. She was a very nice person and a humanitarian. She was about family and loved both children and education.’’
Gainous was born in Lecanto, Fla. And was educated at Lincoln Park Academy in Fort Pierce.
Education always at forefront
“She was such a good student that her principal encouraged her to become a teacher,” recalled Ronald Victor Crosslin, her nephew.
Mrs. Gainous earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Bethune-Cookman College (now University) and her master’s degree in education from New York University.
Gainous was known to be an excellent teacher who had a profound influence on her students.
“She was a very interesting person who loved education and had a lot to offer intellectually. She was very nice to her students and encouraged many to go on to college,” Crosslin noted.
Charles added, “She was a dynamic teacher and was held in high esteem by her students. She loved the children and was very instrumental in helping them learn.”
Mrs. Gainous also the brother of Dr. Neil Crosslin, who had a practice in Daytona Beach with his wife, Dr. Evelyn Crosslin, at 714 Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd. The building is now the Sickle Cell Association of Volusia County Chapter, Inc.
Mother figure to many
Mrs. Gainous was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
Although she didn’t have any biological children, she was a mother figure to many.
“I grew up with her for the first 14 years of my life. She took me in and was like a mother to me though I was her nephew. My mother was her sister but lived in California,” said Crosslin.
Jennings added, “She was like a mother to me and always treated me like a son.
She called me her son. I lived with the Gainouses when I was attending Cookman. I ate dinner with them and briefly worked in the funeral home. I always sent her cakes on her birthday. She loved sour cream pound cake.’’
Mrs. Gainous is survived by her sister, Ann Hood, of Los Angeles, Calif., nephews, nieces, cousins and other relatives.