Retired Hamilton deputy fire chief dies at age 72

Retired Hamilton Deputy Fire Chief David F. Rains will be remembered for many things. He was a snazzy dresser and a great storyteller, whose unique turns of phrase entertained listeners. He was proud to be a firefighter in his hometown of Hamilton. And yet, the Vietnam veteran was quite modest.

Rains died Sunday at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He was 72.

“He always worried about everybody else, over himself,” said one of his daughters, Jennifer Eilerman of Hamilton. “He always used to go by the saying, ‘I am third,’” behind family and friends. “He always wanted to make sure everybody else was taken care of before himself, and it showed in his work ethic, it showed in his family life, everything he did.”

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A 1962 graduate of Hamilton Catholic High School, he picked up the lifetime nickname around then of “styles” because of his dapper way of dressing.

Although he was modest, “he was very proud” to be a Hamilton firefighter, Eilerman said.

“He was a hard worker and he took every promotional exam there was to take, and he soared through them all, and retired as a deputy chief after 31 years,” she said.

He joined the city’s fire service Nov. 11, 1968, and retired May 7, 1999.

Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson said firefighters will provide casket guards during the visitation and will serve as pallbearers and flag folders.

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Rains will receive the final ringing of a restored fire truck’s bell during his burial.

“Three bell-rings times three meant that a fire unit was safely back at quarters,” Dawson said.

That ringing during the funeral will represent Rains’ entry into heaven, Dawson said.

Surviving Rains are his wife, Sheila Rains of Hamilton; daughter Jennifer Eilerman of Hamilton; daughter Carla Eaves of Aurora, Ind.; step-daughter Erika Presley of Riverside, Calif.; and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his step-son, Jason Eichel.

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Visitation will be 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 14, at Weigel Funeral Home, 980 N. W. Washington Blvd.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, at St. Peter in Chains Catholic Church. Burial will be in Darrtown Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to Hamilton Fire Department Honor Guard, Attention Deputy Chief Jeff Shaw, 77 Pershing Ave., Hamilton, Ohio 45011.

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