Brian L. Rainer

Brian L. Rainer

May 28, 1942 – November 12, 2021

Brian L. Rainer, 79, of Champaign, Illinois, died peacefully at home on November 12, 2021.

Brian was born on May 28, 1942, in Sacramento, California, the son of William Jefferson and Leonora Foss Rainer. Due to the separation of his parents and the poor health of his mother, Brian was raised from the age of seven by his maternal aunt, Clara Foss Korslund, and her husband Edwin Julian Korslund on their dairy farm in north central Iowa. Their nurturing of Brian was accompanied by the loving attention of their four children, Allen Korslund, Jan Korslund, Lois Korslund, and Mary Korslund, who were more like brother and sisters to Brian than cousins.

Brian derived particular pleasure from attending for five years Iowa’s last one-room country school, Norway Township No. 1, which was about a quarter-mile from the family farm. He graduated from Eagle Grove High School in 1960 and received his baccalaureate degree in Classics from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) in May 1964. He received his Master's Degree in Latin from the University of Iowa (Iowa City) in May 1966, and subsequently attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. for two years. Brian received his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) in 1975.

Brian served as an academic advisor in the General Curriculum Center of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIUC from 1975-78. From 1978-1999 he was assistant dean at the center and also served as director of its academic advising program. Julian Parrott, who succeeded Brian as director of the General Curriculum Center and who now is Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois System, praised Brian’s work and influence. “Brian touched many lives, and his legacy will continue to span generations through his advising philosophy. There are thousands of former students and advisors who lead more fulfilling and engaged lives because of Brian. I know because I am one of them.”

From 1999-2004 Brian assumed responsibilities in the College as senior assistant dean, admissions dean, academic advisor for the majors in International Studies, Humanities, and Individual Plans of Study, and coordinator of LAS Learning Communities, the freshman program Brian created.

Brian married Gloria Jean Evans on July 30, 1966, in Monona, Iowa. She was his loving wife, friend, and partner for 55 years and survives him. Other survivors are cousins, John Korslund (Pat) Fulton, Maryland; David Korslund (Rob) of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Doug Korslund (Audrey) of Riverside, Illinois; Jim Korslund (Lisa) and Charlene Korslund, of Edina, Minnesota; Mary Nan Myer of Long Beach, California; and goddaughter Karen Korslund Lanthier (Jonathon) of Richfield, Minnesota. Also mourning and surviving Brian are his wife's family members: Trygve and Karan Mathison, Holmen, Wisconsin; Sarah Mathison Saluzzi (Scott), Onalaska, Wisconsin; Angela Mathison, Elk River, Minnesota; and Annika Mathison, Elk River, Minnesota.

Brian was preceded in death by his father-in-law and-mother-in-law, Robert and Florence Evans, and Brent Mathison, his nephew and godson. Also preceding him in death are his parents, his maternal aunt, and her husband, and their four children, all of whom raised him.

Brian was grateful for cherished friends who enriched his life, for the spiritual community at Grace Lutheran Church, and for the opportunity to serve at OSF Hospital’s information desk. He also enjoyed many gardening opportunities and participated in Master Gardener Program activities, including educational presentations, work at the Idea Garden and the gardens at Krannert Art Museum.

Brian was a life-long learner, a writer of poetry, a voracious reader, and a frequent visitor to libraries. If desired, memorial donations may be directed to the Champaign Public Library, 200 West Green Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820, or to a charity of your choice.

Family and friends will celebrate Brian’s life at a later date.

Condolences may be offered at


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