Richard Curtis Rhea

Published 11:43 am Friday, December 17, 2021

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Richard Curtis Rhea of Andalusia passed away Tuesday, Dec. 14 in Dothan. In lieu of traditional funerary services, the family will hold a series of memorial events in the coming year with details to be announced at a later date.

Richard was born Feb. 13, 1944, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Jack Lynn and Anna Mae Spencer Rhea.

His affinity and natural talent for music began early in life. At the age of 11, he played a violin solo when his class orchestra performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He attended Fulton County High School, Class of 1962, where he played on the football team and refined his musical talents by performing at sock-hops and other high school events.

After graduation and serving his country as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, he worked as a music instructor at Lynn’s Guitars in Knoxville and continued to perform locally. Richard later attended college at the University of Tennessee and graduated in 1972 with a degree in Music Education.

Following a brief tenure as a high school band director in Knoxville, Richard began to pursue his music career in earnest. As a full-time professional musician, he performed with such notable artists as Clifford Curry, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, and more. In 1976, Richard moved to Nashville and co-founded the original Corner Music. He continued to work professionally on stage and in the recording studio.

In the early 1980s, Richard began a career as a financial planner and insurance broker, which eventually relocated him to Louisiana in 1995. Throughout this time, he never abandoned his love of music and continued to teach and perform. After retiring from his business career in the early 2000s, Richard returned to his musical roots and founded Creative Soundshop in Alexandria, Louisiana, a retail music store offering music instruction and a professional recording studio.

Throughout his life, Richard was drawn to music ministry. From St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville to St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Richard was active in helping to foster the love of Christ through music. His work with Kairos Prison Ministry and experiences at Cursillo were central to his faith.

For the last decade, Richard made his home in Andalusia, the childhood hometown of his wife, Sheila, née Wilson. Richard and Sheila met in the mid-1970s when she was booked as the new singer for a musical revue that he played every year. Together, they had four children.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Michael L. Rhea. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Sheila; two daughters, Jenny Jordan (Danny) of Andalusia and Kate Sedgwick (Jerome) of Shreveport, Louisiana; two sons, Zachary Rhea (Carrie Ann) of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Spencer Rhea (Christy) of Andalusia; one sister, Nancy Rhea of Jonesboro, Tennessee; and six grandchildren, Audrey and Gus Jordan, Wednesday Hesson, Olivia and James Rhea, and Marylou Rhea.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Kairos Prison Ministry International.