Eugenia Calverley Rayner

August 10, 1936 ~ March 9, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old


Eugenia Calverley Rayner, beloved wife of Douglas Rayner, of Westerly, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by love on March 9, 2024.

Eugenia, the youngest of three children, known in her earlier life as Pinky, and to most as Jean, was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 10, 1936, to Lillian Ellard Calverley and Arthur Stelfax Calverley. Jean would often share memories of her extended family, her life in Hartford, train travel with her mother, and summers spent in Dayton, Ohio with her sister and family. Jean graduated from Bulkeley High School in Hartford, serving in 1953 as vice-president of the Handicrafts Club. In 1959, she graduated from the school of home economics at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, with a focus on nutrition.

It was at UConn that Jean met Doug. In 1959, they married and moved to New York City. While Doug completed medical school, Jean worked as a nutritionist at Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Welfare Island (now Roosevelt Island) and Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. She most enjoyed her position testing recipes for Mabel Stegner, the home economics consultant who coined the word “smoothie” in her 1940 article “Let the Blender Do It For You!”

While in New York, Jean and Doug started their family with the birth of their son, David. Upon Doug’s graduation, he practiced obstetrics and gynocology in the United States Air Force, and the family was on the move. In 1970, three moves and two daughters later, the family relocated to Westerly, Rhode Island making it their permanent home and thrived in the community.

In addition to raising three children, Jean pursued her passion for researching genealogy and recipes. An accomplished cook, Jean could feed hundreds as effortlessly as for her family of five. Family summers included boating, and since she never mastered the art of swimming, this may not have been the safest choice, yet there she was on deck, boat hook in hand, year after year, without incident. She was a loyal friend and a great listener, she appreciated dry humor, and her children certify that she had an advanced degree in eye expressions.

Jean is survived by her husband, Douglas Rayner; her daughters, Kimberlie Rayner-Russell of Westerly and Kristen Rayner (Keira) of Brooklyn, New York; her grandchildren, Caitlin Williams (Brian), Kaelan Rayner, Abbey Rayner-Russell, all of Westerly, and Brenton Rayner (Alex) of Oakland, California; her great-grandchildren, Luca and Mia Williams; and her nephew, Roy Iller of Centerville, Ohio. In addition to her parents, Jean was pre-deceased by her son David Rayner (Laurie), sister Olivia Iller, brother Arthur Calverley, and son-in-law Edwin Russell.

Visiting hours will be held on Monday, March 18, 2023, from 4-8 pm at Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main Street, Westerly, Rhode Island.

A Requiem Eucharist will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 7 Elm Street, Westerly, Rhode Island on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 11 am.

The family would like to extend special thanks to HopeHealth, especially Diana and Natalia for their care, professionalism, and guidance during this challenging time, and to Care at Home and its staff, especially Michelle, who came to us as a caregiver and became our friend. Michelle’s care and kindness throughout the past year will not be forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Chorus of Westerly, the Rotary Club of Westerly Foundation, HopeHealth or the charity of your choice.


Calling hours
March 18, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home
121 Main St.
Westerly, RI 02891

Requiem Eucharist
March 19, 2024

11:00 AM
Christ Episcopal Church
7 Elm St.
Westerly, RI 02891


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