DEXTER - The Rev. Dr. Melvin Gainer Jr., 82, died Feb. 1, 2003, at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn.
Born March 2, 1920, in Richwood, W.Va., son of the late Melvin and Ethel Mae Jones Gainer Sr., he was a member of Friendship Baptist Church in Dexter. Gainer held two doctorate degrees from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he was a scout for Gen. George Patton, who nicknamed him "Gainer the Gunner," and was a recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, the Croix De Guerre of France and two Presidential Citations.
During his years of ministry, Gainer traveled the world, establishing churches and founded the Westside Baptist Church in Dexter. A former mayor of Dexter, he had operated Gainer's Jewelry Shop in Dexter for more than 40 years.
On Dec. 24, 1945, in Dexter, he married Fern Novella Crump who preceded him in death on Jan. 29, 1986.
He and Barbara Dix were married Aug. 6, 1994, in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and she survives of the home.
Other survivors include: one stepson, Ronald Dix of Essex; two stepdaughters, Diane Smith of Dexter and Lisa Scherer of Jonesboro, Ill.; and nine stepgrandchildren and five stepgreat-grandchildren.
Also preceding him in death were three stepsons, Lanny Dix, Kenneth Dix and Steven Dix; and one brother and five sisters.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Dexter, where services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The Rev. Keith Garland will officiate.
Burial will follow in the Dexter Cemetery.