By Brecken Branstrator
Flint, Mich.--Robert Gaines, U.S. Army veteran and founder of Gaines Jewelry in Michigan, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

Gaines was born in Baxter County, Arkansas, on Nov. 17, 1926 to the late Oscar and Mae Gaines.

20170601 Robert Gaines
He married Etheleen Wise on May 7, 1949, in Piggott, Arkansas.

Gaines served in the U.S. Army in both World War II and the Korean War, and was honored in April for his 70 years of service with the American Legion.

Through the GI bill, Gaines earned a certification in watchmaking and opened his first jewelry store in Gideon, Missouri, before moving to Flint, Michigan in 1955 to work for the Hirsch jewelry store chain.

In 1963, he and his wife opened Gaines Jewelry.

Since its start more than five decades ago, Gaines Jewelry has undergone two moves and expansions, including the move in 1999 into its current location on Beecher Road in Flint.

Gaines eventually handed over much of the day-to-day management of the business to his son, David, and Michael Goulet, a longtime employee of the store.

Gaines enjoyed his Christian faith, a good day’s work, golf and spending time with his family.

David Gaines wrote of his father in a Facebook post: “He taught me how to golf, how to fish, how to be a dad, just how to live. He taught me what it means to show God’s love to others, not just by words, but how he lived his life. And what a life it was … Though my dad was 90 years old, and I knew this day would come, words can’t express the void left by his departure. A whole lot of good left the world this morning and I miss him so.”

Gaines was preceded in death by his wife, Etheleen; daughter, Vickie; and siblings Harry, Elbert, Ray, Gordon and Norma.

He is survived by two children, Yasmin Gewirtz and David Gaines; grandchildren Elizabeth Kyprianos, Fredrick Gewirtz, and Selina and Wesley Gaines; great-grandson James Bellows; siblings Pauline Woods and Connie Gaines; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 5, at 11 a.m. at the Swartz Funeral Home in Flint.

Contributions can be made in his name to the Hospice House of Shiawassee County or The Gideons International.

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