Dr. Raymond Rainville, as his children put it, “had endless energy and was always on the go, refusing to stop even until his last breath.”
On Nov. 16, 2018, Rainville passed away in his home surrounded by his loving wife Patricia, and their five children and eleven grandchildren.
His children said, “Ray was a dreamer with a wide range of interests, he was also one of the most open minded and unpretentious people we have ever met with some of the craziest stories you’ve ever heard.”
Before coming to Saint Peter’s University, Rainville worked in the State Administrative Office of the New Jersey Courts, according to Professor Kevin Callahan, a criminal justice lecturer. Professor Callahan explained that Dr. Rainville originally worked as a probation officer, and worked his way up to become the Chief of Children and Family Services.
Rainville’s children explained, “He helped women and children get the money they deserved.”
Rainville’s children stated he was always on the go. Beyond always working two jobs, he was a deacon at Saint Agnes Church in Atlantic Highlands, he taught Christianity and coached basketball to kids in the Christian Youth Organization.
Over the years, Rainville also wrote “Exploring and Understanding Careers in Criminal Justice--A Comprehensive Guide” with a former colleague of his, Matthew J. Sheridan. Callahan explained that he was in the process of writing another book with another long-time colleague.
Rainville was an associate professor of criminal justice at SPU. He began teaching at SPU in 2002 as a professor in the sociology department as there was no criminal justice department yet. While at SPU, Rainville served as the criminal justice department chair for about nine years, he was a freshman advisor, and he served as an advisor for the Criminal Justice Honor Society. Rainville also created the Master’s Degree Program of Criminal Justice at SPU, and also coordinated the department’s internship program for eight years.
Victoria Mauer, criminal justice administrative assistant, expressed, “Dr. Rainville was a jet setter here at SPU.”
As Callahan put it, “Even when his health was failing he kept coming because he absolutely loved this place.”
Callahan explained that prior to coming to SPU, Rainville had been teaching at Brookdale Community College and Kean University.
However, Dr. Kari Larsen, current department chair, stated “When Ray was offered a teaching job here, Monmouth University also made him an offer, but he chose to come to Saint Peter’s because he believed in our mission.”
Beyond teaching, advising and creating the master’s degree program, Rainville traveled every semester to Europe with Dr. Brian Royster, criminal justice professor, and a group of students.
His children told in their Eulogy, “just always moving forward on to the next adventure of traveling to a new city in Europe with our mom or a group of Saint Peter’s college students, or to visit a church in the middle of nowhere that was important for him to see.”
Royster included, “We shared many memories with students in the Criminal Justice Student Association and on study abroad trips, which he thoroughly enjoyed and looked forward to every spring break. While on the tours, he made sure that he visited as many cathedrals and churches as possible. We had many disagreements because I wanted to limit our visits to two, but he always found a way to sneak in two or three more.”
Both Callahan and Royster explained that Rainville only missed one trip since 2002 due to some health complications.
Throughout his years at SPU, Rainville became, as Callahan put it, “Grandpa” to many of his students.
Larsen explains that Rainville knew every single one of the 300 students in the criminal justice department. He knew their names, where they were from, their problems, dreams and aspirations.
“Ray would stay late almost every afternoon long after his classes and office hours had ended.” Larsen said, “For the students, Ray was so much more than a learned professor and career advisor. He was a wise confidant, and a very valuable source of emotional support and comfort.”
Sean Manning, senior criminal justice student, indicated, “I’ve known Doc for the past three and a half years. In that time I've been his student, GEM, work-study, and friend. He was the first person I met in the department and made me feel so welcomed. I owe the man so much for so many opportunities and for helping make me the man I am today. He will be missed but remembered for the profound impact had had on every student, faculty and staff member he met. Thank you for all the wisdom, laughs and lessons learned.”
On Monday Nov. 19 and 20, past and present students, professors and other SPU staff members gathered at Rainvilles parish to pay their respects to his life and his family. The church was packed, but filled with stories and fond memories of Rainville’s life.
His family was grateful, “A sad day for all of us sitting here but a great day to celebrate Raymond Russell Rainville.”
“His loss is going to be irreplaceable” Callahan said.
“The campus is a sad place now, and I don’t know how we will recover from the loss of our beloved professor, colleague, mentor and friend, Dr. Raymond Rainville.” Larsen said, “His memory will inspire us to deliver the most personal care and service to students, to strive for excellence, and always keep our senses of humor. Ray can never be replaced, and he will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.”