September 08, 2021

Mary Bullitt Taggart Rainero, lovingly known to many as “Butch,” died unexpectedly September 6, 2021 in Bristol, VA as a result of complications from Type I diabetes, a disease she fought with unsurpassed courage, strength, and resilience. Mrs. Rainero never uttered a complaint. Rather, she treasured each day as a gift to be embraced.

Born on March 24, 1951 in Norton, VA, Mrs. Rainero was the middle daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Bullitt Taggart (Virginia Tate Taggart), both formerly of Norton, VA and Bristol, TN. Mrs. Rainero’s love of family and friends, her tenacious spirit and her commitment to excellence were evident from the time she was a little girl. As one of her cousin’s remarked this week, “God broke the mold when He made Mary Bullitt.”

An honors student throughout her education, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Medical College of Virginia (VCU) in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Employed by Duke University Hospital following her graduation, Mary Bullitt returned to the Tri-Cities area in 1976 to join the physical therapy department of Holston Valley Medical Center. On April 1, 1977, she married Mr. Louis Stevan Rainero, who has indeed been the love of her life and her constant best friend for 45 years.

Mrs. Rainero’s zeal remained evident in all that she did as a wife, a mother, a friend, a community leader and a volunteer. She was instrumental in the development and growth of her family’s business while simultaneously serving as an executive member of the Junior League of Bristol. Because of her philanthropic leadership, members of the JLB successfully established a local chapter of the American Diabetes Association in Bristol. She was also an active member in several other organizations including the Child Study Club, the Blue Stocking Club, the Hill and Dale Garden Club, the PEO Sisterhood and Alpha Delta Pi Sorority. Additionally, Mrs. Rainero served on the Sullins Academy Board of Directors where she was named interim Head Mistress during the 1992-1993 school year. At the time of her death, Mrs. Rainero remained a member of State Street United Methodist Church where she volunteered and served in numerous capacities for over 30 years, including those of Sunday School Teacher and Floral and Altar Committee Chair.

When reflecting upon the joyful legacy she leaves, Mrs. Rainero will be remembered for the wholehearted way in which she embraced life. She was indeed a master at gardening and floral design, which was first cultivated by her mother, while she also had an unsurpassed ability to welcome friends and family into her home with grace and ease. Her undying love of her husband, her children and grandchildren, her family and her treasured friends will remain alive in each heart she touched. Certainly, her Christian faith was evident in the way she lived.

Mrs. Rainero is survived by her husband, Louis Stevan Rainero, and their children, Virginia Rainero Crawford and her husband, Rob; and Louis Stevan Rainero Jr., and his wife, Alison. She is also survived by six loving grandchildren: Ford, James Bullitt and Harrison Crawford; and Louis, Eva Grace, and Pierce Rainero. Survivors also include her younger sister, Katherine Taggart Crutchfield, along with several nieces and nephews, cousins, family members, and countless friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, and her older sister, Presley Taggart Downs.

The family would like to express their sincere appreciation for the many expressions of sympathy they have received in recent days.
They would also like to thank Mrs. Rainero’s medical teams that have consistently provided her with excellent care over the years in her battle against Type I Diabetes. The family is forever grateful.

Because of the ongoing challenges inherent in the current pandemic, the family will be holding private services for Mrs. Rainero on Friday, September 10. Entombment will be in the Rainero family mausoleum in Glenwood Cemetery.

For those so desiring, memorial contributions may be made to State Street United Methodist Church, 300 W. Valley Drive, Bristol, VA 24201, or to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -

Those wishing to express their condolences may do so by visiting

Akard Funeral Home (423) 989-4800 is serving Mrs. Rainero’s family.