Rhea May Jennings

Au Gres, Michigan
July 16, 1918 - August 6, 2020

Service Location

Linwood Cemetery, Au Gres, Michigan

Services

A private graveside ceremony will take place at Linwood Cemetery in Au Gres, Michigan on Saturday, August 15, 2020.

Obituary Notice

Rhea May (Oates) Jennings
Died August 6, 2020


Rhea May Jennings, age 102, died peacefully on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at Ascension Standish Skilled Nursing.

Rhea was born July 16, 1918 and raised on the family farm in Alabaster, Michigan.
She moved to Au Gres, Michigan and married Wallace Jennings in 1940. Wally worked in the family grocery business in Au Gres for many years before he changed careers to teach school at Au Gres- Sims. Wally died in 1968 and Rhea, at age 50 and a homemaker, was left to continue raising her five children through their high school and college years. She babysat and worked part time at a local restaurant to make ends meet, eventually opening and managing her own restaurant, The Lamplighter (B’s) Restaurant in Au Gres, with her son Bob. She was an amazing cook and baker. At age 75 they sold the business which allowed Rhea to devote full time to her passion, spending lots of quality time with her grandchildren and continue her active lifestyle. She enjoyed bowling, card games, gardening, baking, and spending time with her expansive family and friends. She loved picnics and enjoyed spending summer days at the beach. Rhea would have resisted the title of “matriarch” due to her humility, but she certainly was the glue that maintained a close knit extended family. She showed a quick wit and sense of humor, loved the everyday experiences of life, and lived a very rich and fulfilling life. She was blessed to live independently in the same house she and Wally bought in 1940 until she was 99 years old. Beyond everything else, Rhea loved her friends and family.

The daughter of Michael and Effie (Jacobs) Oates, Rhea was the last surviving sibling of eight children. She was preceded in death by brothers Henry and sister-in-law, Constance (Penny), Herbert and sister-in-law Dorothy, Robert and sister-in-law, Bernice, James, Clarence (Pete) and Frederic, as well as her sister, Lillian and brother-in-law John O’Brien. She is survived by two sisters-in law, Verna (Pete) Oates and Margaret (Fred) Oates.

Rhea is survived by her three sons, Richard (Linda) Jennings of Fort Walton Beach, FL, Robert (Biba) Jennings of Au Gres, MI, and Tim (Jean) Jennings of Parma, MI, as well as her son-in-law, Dave (Karen) Currie. She was preceded in death by both of her daughters, Sandra Gooding of Gaines and Karen (Dave) Currie of Au Gres.

Rhea is survived by 9 grandchildren, Todd Gooding, Ann (Matthew Ketchum) Faulkner, Jennifer (Bryan) Chomicki, Jacqueline Parsons, Khatija (Fabian) Newland, Andrea (Steve) Currie-Stout, Jonathan (Christine) Currie, Susan (Wayne Walter) Currie, Dianna Currie, and 15 great grandchildren, Ryan and Joe Faulkner, Alexandra and Katherine Chomicki, Ava and Grace Parsons, Ashlee, Jordan, Robert, Brandon, and Derek Newland, Jordan Currie, Jaxson Stout, Gabrielle and Colton Currie. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Rhea was a lifelong member of the Au Gres United Methodist Church. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a private family service will be held at Linwood Cemetery in Au Gres on Saturday, August 15th. It will be held jointly with the interment service already planned for her loving daughter, Sandy Gooding, who died July 22, 2020.

The family would like to extend their special thanks to the staff at Standish Skilled Nursing for their excellent care. Their kindness and compassion were great solace to the family, especially when regular visits were curtailed due to the pandemic.

Those wishing to make a contribution are being asked to consider the Jennings Scholarship Fund in honor of her late husband Wallace and both of her daughters, Karen and Sandy, who were also teachers. (The fund was started by her longtime friend and sister-in-law, Mary Jennings, for Au Gres–Sims graduates, and is administered by the Bay Area Community Foundation.)

Memorials

Those wishing to make a contribution are being asked to consider the Jennings Scholarship Fund in honor of her late husband Wallace and both of her daughters, Karen and Sandy, who were also teachers. (The fund was started by her longtime friend and sister-in-law, Mary Jennings, for Au Gres–Sims graduates, and is administered by the Bay Area Community Foundation.)

Cemetery

Linwood Cemetery, Au Gres, Michigan

Condolences

Andrea... so sorry for your loss my friend... what a blessing God have you in her❤️❤️
— Paula Northcutt
Such a lovely lady and fun at every turn.
— Janet (Bessinger) Cunningham
One of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. Rest easy Rhea along with those you have been reunited with. Love and Prayers to the family.
— Linda Ballard
I only met her a couple times but I wish I would have had a grandma so great. She will be missed by her great family and friends. RIP Rhea
— Rita McCauley
It is always difficult to find the right words to express our feelings for the loss of a loved one, especially a family member. The passing of our Aunt Rhea and Cousin Sandy in such close proximity makes it that much more difficult to comprehend.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Sandy’s family and to her brothers Dick, Bob and Tim and their family’s on this solemn occasion.

May mother and daughter rest together in peace and may their souls be carried to heaven on the wings of angels.
— Tom O'Brien

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