Rachel (Cole) Gaither(1935 - 2018)
Rachel Cole Gaither, born November 29th, 1935, was reunited with her beloved husband and best friend, Dr. James "Jim" Gaither, this Saturday, the 25th of August. Rachel and Jim were inseparable in life and throughout their 57 years of marriage they both shared a passion for serving the medical and health needs of the people of Catawba County. The health and welfare of the people of Catawba County was much more than a chosen vocation. It was truly a mission to which they mutually dedicated their lives.
Rachel Gaither received her Physical Therapy degree at Washington University in St. Louis where she first met Jim. They were introduced by mutual friends as the only two students from "the Carolinas". Rachel was one of the first women to matriculate at Clemson University where she began her studies. Although small in stature, Rachel Gaither was strong in spirit and determination. She was born in the small town of Great Falls, South Carolina, and her mother, Margaret Henderson Cole, pushed both her and her older sister, Joyce, to ignore the stereotypes of the 50's and set goals of professional working women.
Rachel Gaither brought her determination to Catawba County, and she was an early proponent of "wellness" programs. She visited numerous factories in the area in the furniture and textile industry and urged owners and managers to increase their focus on the health and welfare of their workers. She was very concerned about the effects of smoking, and she convinced area industrialist that the health and welfare of their workers was both a moral and financial concern.
Rachel Gaither was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Dr. Jim Gaither, on January 15th, 2017, and her devoted grandson, Mathew Cole Gaither, on August 14th, 2014. She is survived by her three children and their families. Son, Cole Alexander and wife Anita, their children, Zachary Alexander, Jordan Gaither Willis and her husband, Dr. Blake Willis, and Benjamin Richard; Son, James Comer, Jr.,wife Elizabeth and their children Amelia Wyant, Andrew Proctor, William Worth and James Nicholas; daughter, R. Leigh Gaither and husband, Major Karl P. Maier, U.S. Army, , and their children, Patrick Kenneth, Jacob Comer and Clancy Alexandra.
Rachel and Jim, reunited in the Spirit of our Lord, Jesus Christ, leave behind a legacy of love and caring for their family and friends, the medical community of Catawba County and the generations of those for whom they cared for