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Thelma Campbell Rhyne
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Obituary for Thelma Campbell Rhyne

Thelma C. Rhyne, 92, a resident of Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA since 1944, entered into eternal rest surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, September 23, 2017. She was preceded in death by her husband of 24 years, Brice Wilson Rhyne, her son Brice Wilson Rhyne, Jr., her sister Mary Campbell Butler, and her brothers E.G. Campbell and Frank Campbell.

The daughter of the late Joseph Eli Campbell and Alma Elizabeth Davis, Thelma grew up on a farm in Pollock, MO during the Great Depression, the second oldest of seven. As a child, she loved riding horses and working outside on the farm with her dad. She came to know the Lord at age 13 and was baptized in a neighboring farmer’s pond by a traveling preacher. After high school, Thelma attended Kirksville Teachers College and upon graduation accepted a teaching position for one year in the rural town of Lemons, MO where she taught all the grades K - 12 in a one room school house. During World War II, she moved with a girlfriend all the way across the country to Washington, D.C. to work for the FBI, first in the photo lab and later in the mechanical section. Riding the elevator with J. Edgar Hoover was a highlight of that time.

After the war, she met her future husband, Brice Wilson Rhyne of Charlotte, NC, through a friend at the FBI. Brice was a D-Day veteran and aspiring corporate lawyer who eventually formed a successful partnership with his brother Charles in a thriving law firm on H Street in Washington, D.C. Thelma and Brice were married on May 29, 1948 and had four children: Brice Wilson Jr., Paul Henry, Patricia Elizabeth and Theresa Anne. In 1969, Thelma and Brice traveled to Normandy for the dedication of the monument that Brice had erected to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Utah Beach. At the ceremony they got to meet General Omar N. Bradley, General James Van Fleet, Ambassador Sargent Shriver and Queen Elizabeth of England. During that trip they traveled to France, England, Germany and Belgium. Thelma would always treasure the places they saw and the time they spent together before her husband died just a few years later.

After her husband died of cancer in 1972, Thelma rejoined the workforce at her church as Church Administrator, a position she held for 28 years before retiring at age 78. She was a charter member of both Fairlington Presbyterian and Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Churches, actively participating through the years as Elder, President of the Women of the Church, Sunday school teacher, VBS Director, and Wedding Coordinator with her daughter Patty. Thelma loved the Lord with all her heart with her favorite Bible verse being Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This verse was a lifelong motto for her as a devoted church member and Christian as she faced all of life’s challenges and joys.

Thelma especially treasured time with family and friends. She spent many Thanksgivings and Easters with her brother E.G., his wife Betty, their children Doug and Julie, and her brother George’s daughter Pam, and many Christmases with her brother-in-law Charlie Rhyne, his wife Sallie, their children Sarah and Lizzie, and his children Bill and Peggy, leaving Thelma to host July 4th for both sides of the family. She also enjoyed talking on the phone with her sisters Dolores and Jenny, sharing all of life’s ups and downs. She was particularly touched by a recent visit by her niece Chris Fleshman, who traveled all the way from MO to see her, for it reminded her of a special family vacation taken to MO the summer of 1977, the last time she would be able to see and spend time with her own mother, Alma. In Thelma’s later years, she spent many an afternoon with her devoted friend Yvonne Hoyle, whom she described as “her angel.” Thelma was also especially grateful to close family friend David Reihner for all his love and support given to her and her family over the years.

Thelma loved flowers and gardening, taking great pride in keeping a nice yard. Many will remember her tooling around Alexandria in her signature emerald green 1972 Mercedes until she could drive no more. We would be remiss if we did not mention her undying devotion to her beloved Washington Redskins, displaying her loyalty with her curio filled with Redskins Christmas ornaments and memorabilia.

Thelma was a wonderful mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She is survived by her son, Paul Rhyne and his wife Kathleen of Springfield, VA, her daughter, Patty Rhyne of Alexandria, VA, and her daughter, Terri and her husband James Butler of Burke, VA; three grandsons, Patrick and Christopher Rhyne, and Lyden Butler; her brother George Campbell and his wife Shirley of Springfield, IL; two sisters, Dolores Summers of Unionville, MO and Jenny Choate of Kansas City, MO; and many nieces, nephews, and church family members at Faith Presbyterian, too numerous to name.

For a spunky farm girl from humble beginnings, Thelma led a big life. May she rest in peace.

Thelma’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 AM at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 5725 Castlewellan Drive, Kingstowne, VA 22315 with a reception immediately following. Memorial contributions may be made in Thelma’s name to her church at the above listed address.

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11:00 AM
Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church

5725 Castlewellan Drive
Alexandria, Virginia 22315


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