In 99 years, William Mains never slowed down -
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 11:29 am / Updated at 11:47 am
In 99 years, William Mains never slowed down

William Mains was known as a gentleman, both on and off the tennis court.

“They just don’t come any kinder,” said Linda Lammers, who played tennis with Mains twice a week for more than 35 years.

Mains, of Omaha, died Sept. 25 at the age of 99. His second wife, Peggy Mains, died Sunday at the age of 77.

William Mains played doubles with a recreational tennis group up until his late 90s.

“He was amazingly spry,” Lammers said. “And he did it all. He was a good tennis player, but also very intellectually brilliant.”

William Oliver Mains was born Dec. 7, 1913, in Galveston, Texas and was raised in Helena, Ark.

He married Lois Evelyn Wheeler in 1938. During World War II, he served the U.S. Army in King Cove, Alaska and Cold Bay, Alaska.

“He never talked about it much,” William’s son Richard Mains said. “He said it was cold and desolate. They were just watching the poles to make sure the Germans didn’t come through.”

After the war, William worked in the advertising department at Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha. William and Lois divorced in 1964, and William married Peggy Nolan in 1966.

William was a member of Masonic Lodge 288, as well as a long-time member of Lifegate Church.

“He had a strong faith,” Richard said. “It carried him through a lot of difficulties.”

Lammers said William’s secret to longevity was never slowing down, mentally or physically.

“I think it was just the fact that he kept moving,” she said. “He was always on the move, looking for something to read, something to do.”

Richard said William was interested in the world around him.

“He was full of energy right up to the end,” Richard said. “He enjoyed life.”

William died of complications due to old age, according to his daughter Laurel Mains.

He was also preceded in death by his first wife Lois, great granddaughter Aleha, granddaughter Ronda Sloat and daughter Anita Huelle. He is survived by his five children, William Harold, Alfred Louis, Richard Douglas, Laurel Suzanne, Alice Ruth Luciano; stepdaughter LeAnn Aurora Atkins; 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

There will be a joint memorial service for William and Peggy Mains Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. at Lifegate Church.

Contact the writer: Anna Gronewold    |  

Anna is a University of Nebraska-Lincoln fellow who writes for news.

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