Bryan E. Rayner

Bryan E. Rayner, 56, of Ava, Ohio, died Thursday (Sept. 19, 2013) at his home. He was born May 4, 1957, in Cambridge, son of Evelyn Marie Bryan Rayner of Ava and the late Wilfred Ellis “Shine” Rayner. He was a 1975 graduate of Shenandoah High School and the Guernsey-Noble Vocation School’s auto mechanic program. He was the third generation owner and operator of Rayner’s Garage and Towing in Ava, which was founded by his grandfather, Boots Rayner in 1929. Together with his father, Shine, they operated the family business until his father’s death on Dec. 1, 2006. He was always on call to help at the time of an accident or vehicle breakdown at any time of day or night, holidays, in blazing heat or freezing cold, he was dedicated to his work. He provided towing services for demolition derbies, and decorated his tow trucks and participated in local parades. Mr. Rayner, along with his wife, Teresa, operated a mobile museum dedicated to the history of the Shenandoah airship, which crashed in Ava in 1925. He was a collector of its memorabilia, including pieces of its wreckage, and he was a well-known local historian who promoted the history of the Shenandoah and the Ava community. He was a member of the Akron Lighter Than Air Club, Lakehurst Lighter Than Air Club, and the National Naval Airship Association. He enjoyed hosting July Fourth celebrations at his home, and he loved eating meals at Marianne’s Food Station in Belle Valley.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Theresa E. Perkins Rayner, whom he married on Nov. 26, 1977; two daughters, Tiffany R. (Ryan) Wehr of Caldwell and Emily J. Rayner of Ava; one sister, Darla K. (John) Wheeler of Ava; one grandson, Christopher D. Wehr; and one grandchild on the way; several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many, many friends.

Friends may call Monday, Sept. 23, and Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. at McVay-Perkins Funeral Home, 416 East St., Caldwell, where the funeral service will be observed Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 11 a.m. with Ken Perkins officiating. Burial will follow at Halley’s Ridge Cemetery near Ava. Memorial contributions may be made to the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department, 215 West St., Caldwell, Ohio, 43724, the Belle Valley Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 16, Belle Valley, Ohio, 43717, the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 214, Summerfield, Ohio, 43788, or the Cumberland Volunteer Fire Department, 444 West Main St., Cumberland, Ohio, 43732. An online guestbook may be signed at