For five years, Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt battled valiantly against cancer. Although she ultimately succumbed in October at the age of 77, her fight against the deadly disease will live on in a new endowed chair at OMRF.
The Rainbolt family has made a $1 million gift to OMRF to create the Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. The scientist who holds the chair will focus research efforts on developing a deeper understanding of cancer’s causes and creating new therapeutic approaches for the disease, which claims one million American lives each year.
“Jeannine’s life was taken by lung cancer, although she never smoked and abhorred the habit,” said Rainbolt’s husband of 57 years, H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt. “This chair is our family’s way of ensuring that her death will not be in vain, that there will be at least one more scientist working in perpetuity to stop an insidious disease that senselessly decimates countless lives.”
Jeannine Tuttle Rainbolt was born in Oklahoma City, and she met her future husband when they were sixth graders at Norman’s McKinley Elementary School. The pair attended junior high, high school and the University of Oklahoma together, and they married while still in college. Upon graduation, Jeannine became a dedicated and passionate elementary school teacher, a profession she continued while Gene served as a young lieutenant in Korea.
With her husband, who has served as Chairman of the BancFirst Corporation since 1989, Jeannine was actively involved in Oklahoma’s civic and philanthropic community. The couple have two children, David and Leslie, and seven grandchildren, all of whom live in Oklahoma City.
“OMRF is deeply honored that the Rainbolt family has chosen to memorialize Jeannine Rainbolt by endowing a chair in cancer research at OMRF,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “I can think of no more appropriate way to pay tribute to such a remarkable, courageous woman than by working to solve the mysteries of a disease that steals far too much from far too many.”