Mr. Ahmed A. Rayner, Sr. was born in 1893 in Calvert, Texas. He graduated from Prairie View A & M University in Prairie View, Texas in 1911. Following his graduation from Prairie View, he migrated to Chicago, Illinois. He eventually became a graduate of both Worsham College of Mortuary Science (in 1914) as well as a graduate of John Marshall Law School (in 1934). While in Chicago, he started working for Jackson Funeral Home. After leaving Jackson Funeral Home, he began a career as the Livery manager for Metropolitan Funeral Home, which was affiliated with the Chicago Metropolitan Mutual Life Assurance Company. A.A. Rayner, Sr. eventually resigned from the “Met” in 1947 to begin his own company.
In 1947, A.A. Rayner & Sons Funeral Home was established at 4141 South Cottage Grove Avenue. Joining A.A. Rayner were his children: A.A. “Sammy” Rayner Jr., Anne Rayner, Susie J. Rayner, and John B. Rayner. A.A. Rayner, Sr. was also joined in business by his brother, Loris M. Rayner. Business was successful, and expansion soon became necessary. Additional locations were established at 3660 West Roosevelt Road in Chicago, managaed by Loris M. (Hortense) Rayner and nephew Ivan E. Rayner, II; 1317 Emerson Street in Evanston, managed by John B. (Narvel) Rayner; and 318 East 71st Street in Chicago, managed by A.A. Sammy (Alice) Rayner. A.A. Rayner, Sr. managed the funeral home at 4141 South Cottage Grove Avenue with his daughter Anne (Charles) Childs.