Rhonda Diann Willard, 59, passed peacefully to her Heavenly home Monday, June 28, 2021.
Funeral services will be held 2 pm on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at Calvary Baptist Church. Burial will follow in Panhandle Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Minton Chatwell Funeral Directors of Panhandle with Pastor Brent Childers officiating. Rhonda will lie in state beginning at 9 am on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at Calvary Baptist Church in Panhandle. The family will receive friends from 5-7 pm on Wednesday at Calvary Baptist Church.
Rhonda was born September 20, 1961 in Dumas, TX to Wayne Hollingsworth and Mary Lea Tennyson Hollingsworth. At the tender age of three, Rhonda lost her father Wayne. She and Mary were taken in by Mary’s sister and brother-in-law, Lillie and Calvin Hartley. At the age of six, Rhonda asked her momma if her uncle, “Curly” could be her daddy. Shortly thereafter, she got her wish and Mary and E.V. were married. When she was 9, they adopted Michelle Lee to make the family complete. Her childhood was filled with love and adventures which included camping, fishing, gardening, and of course going to garage sales.
In her teenage years, they lived in Sunray, Texas where she loved to march and play the clarinet in the school band, her parents uprooted her and took her to the middle of nowhere New Mexico – AKA Nara Visa, NM. She enjoyed getting into trouble with friends at Amistad High School, Amistad NM. Her mother taught her to play the piano and she played beautifully. In her junior year of high school, Rhonda met the love of her life, Peter Shane Willard. They were married December 2, 1978 in Nara Visa. Pete and Rhonda welcomed the first of their three daughters, Erin Dawn, November 30, 1980. Pete, Rhonda and Erin settled into family life in Amarillo, TX. They had many friends and spent a lot of time with their entire family. Rhonda loved all things arts and crafts, but she had a special talent for painting. She and Pete’s mother Betty found they had that in common and spent many years travelling to various craft shows to peddle their wares. Soon enough they welcomed their second daughter, Danika Allyson into the fold. In 1985 when it was time for Erin to start school, they decided to leave the ‘big city’ life and moved to Panhandle. Morgan Elizabeth graced them with her presence next. The family was complete. Rhonda lived her life for her beautiful baby girls. She especially liked to go shopping with them and they often travelled to Dallas and Oklahoma City just to hit up the malls. You rarely saw Rhonda without at least one of her girls.
Pete and Rhonda were members of Calvary Baptist Church in Panhandle, where she blessed the congregation with her beautiful musical abilities by playing the organ and the piano. She also painted murals in the nurseries for many generations to enjoy. The church members quickly morphed from friends to family. Rhonda took great joy in ministering to grieving families by playing the piano for funeral services. The closer she was to someone, the more beautiful her music was.
Rhonda felt deeply. She took on others' pain as her own and did her very best to alleviate it for them.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Wayne Hollingsworth, Mary and E.V. (Curly) Hollingsworth; her Aunt and Uncle Lillie and Calvin Hartley; her Aunt and Uncle Leona and Fred Neafus; her parents-in-love, Betty and Dale Willard; her grandparents, her great grandparents, several cousins and numerous friends.
Survivors include her husband, Pete of Panhandle; daughters, Erin Kowalewski and husband Koty of Panhandle, Danika Hutson and husband Jayson of Fritch, Morgan Foster and husband Matt of Elkhart, KS; grandchildren, Braedyn, Kloee, Kylee and Karlee Kowalewski; Jayten and Alice Hutson; Elijah, Zander, Isaac and Evelynn Foster; sisters, Michelle Lee Parsons and husband Raymond of Amarillo, Texas; Marsha Gayle York and husband Al of Grapevine, Texas; Vicki Lee Slaughter of Watauga, Texas; sister-in-law Lisa Marnell of Amarillo, Texas; nieces McKenzie Whitsell and Gracen Parsons; nephews Derek Chamberlain, Curry Austin, Lake Slaughter, Rusty , Shane, Dusty and Justin Marnell.