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Roxanne Rhea

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A Celebration of Life Service for Linda Roxanne Townsen Rhea will be held at Gateway Church International in Roswell, NM on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 10:00 AM. Roxanne stepped into Heaven during the early morning hours of June 14, 2021 where she was welcomed by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Pastor Rick Rapp will officiate the Celebration Service. All Friends and loved ones are invited to attend this special time of remembrance, fellowship, and worship.

Roxanne was born on October 17, 1942 to Velon and Lillian Townsen when Velon was the Santa Fe Railroad agent in Whiteface, Texas. Roxanne was the oldest of her siblings, Don Townsen, Judy Townsen Speir, and Stewart Townsen, who all still live in Texas, She attended elementary school in Whiteface, but completed her high school years in Hale Center, Texas when the family was relocated there by the railroad. While attending Hale Center High School, Roxanne received many academic and athletic awards and achievements. She was an outstanding Varsity basketball player, helping her team to win third place in the Texas State Championship her senior year. She was selected by the school faculty as the “Most Outstanding Girl” and was elected as Homecoming Queen by her fellow classmates.

While still attending Hale Center High School, Roxanne met the love of her life, Hud Rhea. After her High School Graduation, she attended Texas Tech University where Hud was also a student. Hud and Roxanne married on July 12, 1962, in Hale Center. It was then that they began their life together in Roswell, New Mexico, where Hud had begun his banking career at First National Bank. After almost three happy years of honeymooning in Roswell, their first child, David, was born. Two and a half years of honeymooning in Roswell, their first child, David, was born. Two and a half years later, their daughter, Robin, came along. Roxanne was the perfectly stay-at-home mother nurturing her children until they began school, when she then transitioned to car-pool driver, homeroom-mother, PTA officer, cub scout leader, girl scout leader, and 4-H mom. She delighted in helping the family raise 4-H animals. She spent many a cold night carrying newborn lambs inside her coveralls to her kitchen where she revived, dried, and warmed them before returning them to their mothers. She was everyone’s biggest cheerleader at the hundreds of stock shows, games, and events that her kids participated in. Even during all of that, Roxanne still found the time to volunteer with the Assistance League of Chaves County spending countless hours teaching special needs children how to swim and ski. In 1981, the New Mexico Council for Exceptional Children awarded Roxanne their high honor for her “outstanding contributions to exceptional persons.” During this time she also began to substitute teach in the Roswell School District, usually in special needs classrooms.

In 1989, Roxanne began her 23 year career teaching second grade at Gateway Christian School. Even after her retirement, she continued to tutor Gateway students for another five years. Although teaching full time, Roxanne finished earning her college degree from Eastern New Mexico University. Everywhere Roxanne went, she was regularly approached by individuals asking, “ Mrs. Rhea, do you remember me? I was in your second grade class. You were my all-time favorite teacher.” And yes, she remembered them all. The hearts and lives that she touched are too numerous to count. It blessed her abundantly when her former students grew up and became parents, and then put their children in her class. One of the most memorable things that Roxanne did for her second graders each year was to raise butterflies from caterpillars. When all of the butterflies had emerged from their chrysalises, the class would release them and have a big party complete with butterfly shaped sugar cookies from Mama Tuckers Bakery. Mrs. Rhea became known as the “Butterfly Lady”. Teaching and loving children was her calling.

Roxanne was not only an excellent wife, mother, friend, and educators she was also a fabulous outdoors-woman. She could shoot, hunt, and fish with the best. She made camping feel more fun than Disney Land. She hunted antelope, deer, elk, and oryx numerous times. Her oryx, taken in 1988, held the record for over 20 years. She also took an amazing dall sheep in the Yukon Territory of Canada in 1998. Almost all family vacations were taken while camping, hunting, fishing, or visiting the Townsen family cabin at Cowels, New Mexico.

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Roxanne’s qualities were immeasurable: she was lovely, Godly, graceful, hardworking, fun, strong, wise, pure, witty, courageous, full of compassion, mercy, and patience, friendly, joyful, positive, always smiling, always giving a good report, kind, faithful, and prayerful. She had a gift about her that made everyone around her feel comfortable and loved. She always put others before herself. She loved her family fiercely and would do absolutely anything for them. Even after her health began to fail, she almost daily would say, “All is well” or “It could be worse”. She made everyone around her strive to be a better person. She also made the very best homemade ice cream and banana pudding in the whole wide world!

Roxanne is survived by her husband, the absolute love of her life, Hud Rhea; their son, David and his wife, Kelly; David and Kelly’s daughter, Melody and her husband, Daniel, and their twin sons, Summit and Sawyer; and David and Kelly’s son Landon and his wife, Aimee, and their three children, Josiah, Mia, and Forrest. Also surviving Roxanne is their daughter, Robin and her husband Larry; Robin and Larry’s daughter, Hannah and her husband, Cody, and their three children Canyon, Harper, and one on the way; and Robin and Larry’s son, Kase. Also surviving Roxanne are her siblings: Don Townsen, Judy Townsen Speir and her husband, Chip, and Stewart Townsend and his wife, Kristi; her Sister-in-law, Ryn Bowers and her husband Russell, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, caregivers, and dear friends.

For those desiring, the family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Gateway Christian School – Building fund. PO Box 1642, Roswell, NM 88202.