Remembering Madame Rainey


Timotha Rainey, known to her family and friends as “Timi” and to her students as Madame Rainey, taught at Tuscarora High School for over ten years and worked in Loudoun County for fifteen years. She is remembered by her colleagues and students as an engaging, dedicated, and fun teacher. Whether it was running the school’s French club, taking trips to France with her students, or her daily commitment to helping anyone learn a new language and culture, Rainey was deeply involved in the school’s community.
Rainey grew up with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a chronic hereditary disease that causes clusters of cysts to develop in the kidney. In March of 2020, Rainey started looking for a kidney donor due to the progression of her disease. In November of 2020, a “miracle match” was made, setting in motion the process for Rainey to get a kidney transplant, which she eventually received in April of 2021. Rainey participated in a chain-transplant, where a potential donor is matched with a recipient who has a willing, but incompatible donor, and that recipient’s donor then gives to another incompatible pair, and so on. After the successful surgery in April, Rainey was too immunocompromised to return in person the following school year. Rainey taught online, calling into class on Google Meets and creating online lesson plans while continuing to undergo medical procedures.
In October 2021, Rainey was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. Rainey continued to teach at Tuscarora until late 2021. Sadly, as her health continued to decline, Rainey had to step away from her teaching duties. Timotha Rainey passed away on September 19th, 2022, surrounded by her friends and family.
The legacy of a teacher is hard to understand. Teachers have an influence on so many in their work, and Rainey’s impact cannot be overstated. “I always admired Timotha for her passion for teaching and commitment to her students,” commented Kelley Wagner, a Spanish teacher at Tuscarora who met Rainey in 2012. “Timotha was the very first person I met in our department when I joined the team… She was so gracious in offering any and all assistance she could even though we taught different languages. And I don’t think I fully understood or appreciated that gesture immediately. But she really, truly meant that.” Tuscarora’s language department was made brighter every day by Rainey’s cheerful outlook and enthusiastic commitment to her students. Spanish teacher and language department chair Catherine Paz notes, “Ms. Rainey always went above and beyond to create positive experiences with her students even when she had so much on her plate, and she never failed to have a positive attitude about it. Her French classroom was a safe-space for the students and they knew that she would do anything to help them.”
Former student Kate Morrison reminisced about her time with Rainey, “I would describe Madame [Rainey] as kind and exuberant. She always seemed excited to teach.” In addition to teaching Tuscarora’s French classes, Rainey also headed the French Club and French National Honor Society. “In 8th grade, I went to a French cheese and chocolate tasting at Smart’s Mill. It was put on by Tuscarora’s French Club. This was the first time I met Madame Rainey. I remember being happy that I would have such a good French teacher in high school,” notes Morrison. After taking classes with her from sophomore to senior year, Alicyn Stewart describes Rainey as “… a passionate teacher who always wanted all of her students to do well… She went out of her way to do extracurricular French activities with her students.”
Shinjini Sarkar, another former student of Rainey’s and current member of the National Art Honor Society, is working to create a mural honoring Rainey’s legacy at Tuscarora. Although the location has not yet been determined, the mural will “be based off of her favorite french quotes she always put beneath her emails… [in order] to spread the wisdom she wanted to share with her quotes.”
Rainey will be remembered for her fun classes and activities, and her kind, helpful personality that encouraged everyone to succeed. Her lasting impact will be seen on anyone who had her as a teacher or friend and learned a little more about the French language and culture she loved to teach.
A mass will be held on January 7th at 11 am followed by a celebration of Rainey’s life. All details pertaining to this event can be found at the link below. If you, or anyone you know was touched by Rainey’s life, you are welcome to attend.