Rhiannon and Amber (at right) were friends before they both moved to Green Bay to go to college, and they got an apartment together. They went out dancing and playing pool and had a lot of good times.
From Tony Calloway - I met "Remi" in the summer of '97 in Green Bay. I used to own a car stereo store. She wanted her equipment installed correctly and I was the one she was told to come to. (See her Spec Sheet here.) Well from then on we became good friends. One afternoon the shop was closing and I had had a long day and "Remi" came by to say, "Hi". I just opened a bottle of Remy's Martine and looked her and said, "Your nickname from now on is Remi" and she liked it! I see that stuck until this day. She and I kept in touch for a long time, thru e-mails and telephone calls. I had recently contacted her to hook me up with her for the bike week in SC. Well she was going to The Gap with her dad and friends and invited me along. I quickly agreed to go. As time went by I felt an urge to contact her and it turned out to be the day of the accident. I believe it was meant for me to say something to her. But as of this day I feel the loss of a friend and companion. I will miss you Remi, but I won't forget. I ride with you in my heart forever.
This was a first! Unlike her sister Miranda, Rhiannon never really liked little babies, and never wanted to babysit them in her younger years. But when Miranda had her first baby, Logan, in 1999 Rhia thought he was wonderful! She even threatened to take him to Green Bay with her. By the time the next dirty diaper came along, she changed her story a bit and decided she'd rather wait until he was potty-trained. Then Ethan was born in 2002, and when she came home to visit, she always stayed at Miranda's house so she could spend time with the boys. The idea of babies was growing on her by this time, and she even said she would like to have a couple of her own one day. She wanted twins so she could get it over with in one shot and be done. I remember telling her that if she had twins the first time around she would probably MAKE SURE she never had any more! Double the trouble! (But double the fun too!) Miranda's little girl, Paige, was born March 2nd, 2005, and Rhiannon never had the pleasure of holding her.
While she lived in Green Bay, Rhiannon did some modeling for photographer Bill Hewitt (also an engineer that worked for Optima). I have dedicated a whole page to this because I thought you might all like to see the whole portfolio.....
Our first foal was born in May of 1999 and Rhia fell in love with her! Brandy would follow her around and beg for more attention!
College graduation party at the park in Green Bay, WI in 2000. We all brought food for a picnic and got to meet many of her friends.
Here's a couple of the guys and Melissa who she choreographed dance routines with. Melissa R, Bambi (shown below) and Rhiannon could clear the floor at a dance club while everyone circled around and cheered them on!
In this picture at her graduation party she's with her sister Miranda and nephew Logan. Grandpa Daugherty and Gramma Johnson are in the background. Gramma joined Rhiannon in Heaven about 6 weeks later (on May 20, 2005). My mom battled Lymphoma for 9 months, and in the end we all realized she had probably had cancer for quite a bit longer than that. Before she died she told me she had a dream where she was just holding Rhia in her arms - they were hugging each other and crying tears of joy.
This next picture is of
Natalie, Rhia, Dave, Chris,
and Nicky (in front). Each
of these friends has very special
memories of Rhiannon - maybe
they will share a favorite story with us!
From Mark Stenger - I worked as a Sales Engineer where I called on Optima. I remembered the first time she walked out with Stephan. When people write about her bright smile and friendly attitude, they are all correct. On one of my regular meetings, she told me she was going to S.C. and told me to visit her. At that time I thought it was only a joke, but reading all your comments it seems I was wrong. Although our professional relationship was short, she sure does have that personification about her. My prayers go out to Rhiannon's family and loved ones.
Rhiannon met Ben Ploss while she lived in Green Bay, and fell in love with him. They shared an apartment, and had many happy memories for the 3 years they were together. They went to SC in 2001 to see if they liked it and while there, they went para-sailing. She said it was such a rush being up in the air like that! They had you on the boat, hooked you up, and then once they got up to speed, they let out the 'chute and the line. They would slow down and dip you in the water a little bit too! Finally they reeled them in and got them back in the boat.
Of course this set her up to be even more of a dare-devil!
Rhiannon and Ben went to Wisconsin Dells in August of 2001 and they decided to take a trip in the Ejection Seat! This is a huge slingshot that shoots you straight up into the air and springs back bouncing and spinning you around! NOT FOR ME! But they sure enjoyed it!
For Rhiannon's birthday in 2001 I bought her and Ben a Skydiving Adventure! When she told her co-workers they teased that I must not love her very much to encourage her to jump out of a perfectly good airplane! But she was very excited about it - and maybe a little nervous too! They went to the Green Bay Skydiving School and had to take a full day of classroom work before they could jump. There were question and answer periods and a test at the end. They learned how to step out, where to put their hands, where to look so you wouldn't tumble, how to release the chute, how to steer it once airborne, and a plethora of rules about what to do in emergency situations. The contract they had to sign was incredible! They squeezed into the plane - her in the back because she was smallest, and then the other two jumpers, an instructor (in case anything went wrong) and the pilot. When they finally got in the air and it was her turn to jump - she nearly backed out. She was afraid to actually lean out into the air as it rushed by at 120 mph - she thought she was going to be blown right out of the plane before she got into position. She was to place her hands on the strut - but as you can see, the strut is much too big to actually get a grip on. The instructor yelled at her to get out there, but by then the plane was not over the target area anymore. She tried to argue, but he made her go. She said she felt like she was completely horizontal in the wind. She got into position, looked up, and let go! Her chute opened, and she was drifting over pasture land - with cows!! It was a windy day and she was not above the target like she was supposed to be! She realized she was going to have to change direction and try to get back, but even so, she still missed the target area and landed in a gravel pit. The picture at right is of Ben - she was too far out of range to get on camera.... She said it was the scariest thing she had ever done!
Rhiannon and Ben took our kayaks out in July of 2001. Neither one of them had ever been in a kayak before, but they had a great time! They paddled around in the backwaters of the Menominee River for most of the afternoon. She showed him where she used to have fun on a rope swing when she was in high school, and they wound around the many islands that are there.
She also liked to go tubing behind her dad's boat. I know that he always tried to dump her and her sister, but I don't think he was ever successful! They would go for a full afternoon, and her arms would be so sore the next few days she could hardly move! It's hard work when you're not used to it!
Rhiannon and Ben wanted to go horseback riding one day, but I didn't have time to go along, so they headed out by themselves. It was a very windy day and I warned them that the horses would probably be spooky. Rhiannon insisted on riding the newly trained Thunder who stands at 16:2 hands, while Ben chose the much calmer and more well-trained Honey who is only 14:3 hands (about 7 inches shorter). She had to have the tallest one! Well - they set off - and about 20 minutes later they were back! Apparently when the horses got out in the middle of a nearby field, the wind really picked up and they took off running. I guess it was a wild ride for a while, and then they got them turned around and decided to come back before either of them got hurt!
From Ben Spencer - Rhiannon and I have been close friends for many years. I was the friend that moved to Greenville and told her how much I liked it. She evidently found the same enjoyment in the area too because she moved here. Even though we may not have been around each other very often, she was definitely one of my best friends. We would talk to each other about trips to the dentists, headaches, cats, and movies. We even vacationed together for holidays and when her friend Melissa came to visit (at right - Rhiannon, Ben P., Melissa E., Ben S.). I was very surprised when she asked me to help her with the buying of her Townhouse and even asked me to help her pick out the colors and designs for her cabinets and carpeting. Every day I see my friend's picture on my desk. It is a constant reminder to me that I will never see her again. I will never have the opportunity to tell her how much I loved her and thought of her....but somehow...I think she already knew.
From Ryan McConnell - I remembered things not turning out how it was suppose to when she first got to Greenville, then her and Ben P. had problems, and she ended up on her own. I remember her telling me, through instant messaging one night that she would do some work for you, I thought it was cool, it was tight like that between you two. She called me one night and she was bummed that things weren't going right, she had no idea what to do, because at the time, the economy everywhere was so bad that jobs were hard to come by and her claim was there were people out there that had more education than her and were willing to take less wages. So we talked about that and came to the conclusion that since she was young, with all kind of energy and life in her, that she would make a more ideal candidate, so she looked through the paper, and didn't find anything, but none the less she was feeling better, and after that, she started singing a Norah Jones song to me and I just sat and listened, and that helped her feel better. A couple days later, she mentioned the job at Advanced Automation and how she was going to try, but she didn't think she would get it, I assured her she would, and she did. Looking back, I see the whole process, of being down, and completely going back up. This is why I thought she was beautiful, because of the person she was....she taught me that if you had a song in your heart, nothing could hold you down. Her and I always communicated like this. I always looked out for her when she was up here, and even when she was back there. She looked out for me as well, and it's been said, if she had to be brutally honest, she would be. I can vouch for that on many occasions. She was the only woman that could ever truly neutralize me. It was like that right from the get go of our friendship. She knew it too, so any time she did it, I would just wink at her, or give her some sort of sign that I understood.
At work at Advanced Automation. Even though she was happy at her job, she always kept up a current resumé. This one is from Sept. 2004.
When she needed extra money, I put her to work for me too. She did a lot of work in Excel, Photoshop, and Homesite for my web design business. Even though she never actually built a site from scratch for me, she could follow directions and think on her feet at the same time, and sometimes challenged my methods. I figured as long as she got it done, I really didn't care too much about how she did it. There were several times I would have some dumb problem in Excel and would have to call her to get me unstuck. She always knew the answers. And every year at Christmas time, she insisted I take her and her sister out to the T&T Supper Club to have steaks as a "Company Christmas Party".
||Superbowl party in 2003 with Angela, Donna & Ryan. Looks like they were doing "shots". :)
Rhiannon brought Mehmet home to meet the family at Christmas time one year. He's a great guy and knew exactly how to handle her!
Rhiannon went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans in March of 2003 and had a blast! They went to Club Zoolu one night where Scooby got down for a headspin! He taught her some new dance moves several times when they went out clubbing. She loved that. She had a thing for choreographing and making up new moves ever since whe was about 12 when her and Miranda went to a local teen place in Iron Mountain called Night Moves.
Scooby, Rhiannon, & Epic
Meredith ,Shelly, & Lara.
Dave, Mehmet, & Matt
Melissa E & Rhiannon
The group from Appleton came to visit in April of 2003... Maybe they will send a story!
Bambi & Rhiannon were great friends, and they spent a LOT of time working on dance routines with Melissa R (shown above) for the clubs they went to! Since they don't let us "old" people in the clubs, she even had a few videos made for us to see! Pretty interesting stuff! :)
There's a zoo in Wallace, MI called the DeYoung Family Zoo about an hour and a half away from Iron Mountain. They started with several exotic cats, and every year they add more cats and more types of animals. I think this is where she first got the idea of having her own exotic cat because we'd go there almost every year, and she would absolutely fall in love every time. They always have baby animals you can play with, and we nearly had to drag her away. This picture was taken in July of 2003. The picture to the right is of a caracal - the kind of exotic cat she had ordered from Julie's Jungle, and was hoping to own in a month or two! They grow to 30-50 pounds.
This is another picture of her with a 6 month old lion in 2001. Normally when the cats get this big, Bud DeYoung (the owner of the zoo) does not let them out around guests because they're big enough that they could really do damage to you. Bud was instrumental in getting Rhiannon the information and contacts she needed in order to buy an exotic cat of her own.
From Jason Brashier - My fondest memory of Rhiannon was when she threw me a surprise birthday party at Frank's house. We became pretty close friends after we met in July 2003. She and I would usually go out to dinner, watch a movie, ride or sometimes just sit and talk for hours. We were talking one night when it came up that I had never had a party for my birthday and it was coming up in September. I didn't think anything else about it until I was pulling up to a house full of my friends and family. I guess it got started when she slipped my best friend a note that said she wanted to plan the party and would like help contacting everyone. She organized all the plans, called and invited all the people, told everyone where to be, all without me having a clue. The plan was for me to come to Frank's the Wednesday before my birthday to watch a movie that we were going to see the sequel to on the weekend. When I pulled up I was so shocked to see my best birthday ever. No one has ever gone through that much for me especially after knowing me for such a short period of time. When I came to the door, the first person I saw was my best friend Andy who told me that Rhiannon had planned the whole thing. I will always remember that birthday and I will always remember her for giving me that gift.
Christmas with "the crew". Jason, Rhiannon, Frank, Joe (aka Todd), & Mike. This group of guys was incredibly instrumental in teaching Rhiannon how to ride! They did everything together for quite a while - not only riding but dinners and movies and just hanging out! They really took good care of her and watched out for her - like the big brothers she never had. Each year at Christmas time they would get together to exchange gifts. Presents ranged from gags to very thoughtful items, but was always a lot of fun! I remember getting phone calls from her and she would pass the phone around the table so everyone could say "Hi" and I could chat with each of them for a while.
From Ben Spencer - One Christmas Rhiannon and I exchanged gifts. She gave me a very gothic-looking candle holder with "orbs". She told me before she gave it to me that if I didn't like it, I had to give it back to her because she wanted it! I have always loved it since she gave it to me, not because it particularly went with my style but because "she" gave it to me. I had always intended to give it back to her after a certain amount of time had passed....'cause I secretly know she really bought it for herself!
From Ryan Shedd - We used to laugh at this one song by Fabulous called Breathe. It'a a rap song, but the lyrics were so crazy we just couldn't believe he could be saying all that stuff! Whenever I hear it I remember us laughing together...
From Jeanine Peerenboom - In May of 2004 we went to Charleston to stay with her friend Chris. I met him and Brandon and they treated me as if they had known me as long as they knew her. She warned them of my slight attitude and that I was much like her so to treat me with respect and that they did. One of the days we went out to Foley Beach with the guys and their friend Doc. I had never seen the ocean before that so I was in complete awe. She warned me that the waves out there were a little bit higher than in other places so to take that into consideration when I got in the water. She said that if I could get past where the waves break I'd be set. Well, needless to say I never got very far...neither did she for that matter. Everytime we tried a wave would come and sweep us back towards the shore. We both drank a lot of salt water that day. Well, awhile later, Rhiannon, Chris, Brandon and I were all in the water together close to shore. Rhiannon and I had our backs to the waves and the guys were in front of us. We thought something was brewing among them but we were unsure. Next thing we know Chris grabbed her and Brandon grabbed me and they carried us out farther into the ocean. Not much we could do! Then they tell us to hold our breath and they both dunk us under a wave. We were laughing and yelling at them and then here came another wave and down we went. The next thing I heard was Rhiannon laughing and yelling that she thinks she just flashed the entire beach her butt! Meanwhile I was trying to re-adjust the top to my bikini. None the less we all got a good laugh out of it and the guys finally let us go. Later on at the beach we got someone to take a picture of us all. Out of nowhere a little dog ran up. I guess he was a ham and wanted to be in the picture too, but it was funny. All in all the day was a lot of fun. The rest of it was spent walking around Charleston and sitting at Wet Willy's at 4:00 in the afternoon having a frozen drink. We went to dinner that night stopped at the bar Brandon worked at to say "Hi", and then headed back to the house. The week I spent out there with her was the best time I've had in a long time. It was wonderful to be with her. It was the last time I was with her before this tragedy, but it was a good time and left me with great memories to cherish forever.
This sea-plane belongs to a family friend, Steve Scheibe. He took her up in the air and let her fly it by herself for a while in July of 2004. He said she did a very good job too! I know she thought it was just great that he let her do that! :) Steve has known Rhia all her life and I know that he sure enjoyed the person she became. He is also an engineer, and is very involved in the bike racing industry (even raced crotch rockets for Harley for a while), so they had a lot in common to talk about when they got together. He certainly had a lot of respect for her.
Rhiannon was SO excited in the summer of 2004 when she bought her town house! She picked out the lot, picked out which part of the unit she wanted, and everything that went into it! I would get phone calls while she was out shopping regarding her dilemmas about cabinets, counter tops, and flooring and then later about coordinating colors and fabrics. She would send me pictures in e-mail of window treatments, furniture, accessories, etc.
Remember - nothing is ever left "stock". She didn't like the light fixtures that came with the house, so she installed new ones. She had to have certain types of door handles on all the cabinets. She agonized over what colors to paint the walls (it came with everything white), and for everyone that has been to her house, you'd probably be surprised to learn there WAS a hint of color on all the walls!
On the back side of her unit, there is a sliding glass door that leads out to a patio. She really wanted to have an awning built over that so she and her guests could smoke outside in comfort. She went through months of trying to get that approved, and finally gave it up. They were not going to be very flexible and that frustrated her to no end. The patio had a huge eye-bolt cemented into it to lock her bike down and the awning would have served as a nice roof/garage for it.
Her unit is the one on the left end in this picture with the brick front and bay window. The end units have a couple of extra windows for more light.
Donna, Rhiannon, Suzie, Ryan, and Ashley.
This picture was taken of the girls during Rhiannon and Ryan's housewarming party on August 9, 2004. She was very proud to have her house "done" and to have all her friends over.
From Rita Steadman - I have no special stories to tell...only that I miss Rhiannon tremendously. I lived next door to Rhiannon and she and I moved in on the same weekend. From day one, I loved her because she was such a real person. She didn't mind saying exactly what she was thinking. My townhouse has a front porch so I had told Rhiannon that she was welcome to smoke on my porch anytime so this opened up the opportunity to share some special time with her. There were days that I would be inside but I would look out and there would be Rhiannon sitting on my porch and talking on her cell phone. There are still times, after I lay down at night, it seems I can hear her coming in on her bike. She will always have a special place in my heart.
From Donna Anderson - Rhiannon and I met one night while I was out with (my then boyfriend, now husband) Jeff. We had met up with another friend of ours at a club. Well, he had this girl (Rhiannon) hanging out with him, and when we first met, I must admit she was a little much. I am usually fairly quiet when I first meet someone, but she wouldn't allow me to be. Question after question, and comment after comment! Man, could that girl talk!! I wasn't sure if she was the kind of girl I could get along with, but that changed REALLY quickly. After hanging out with her a few more times, I remember thinking, "I wish I could be more like her!". And sad to say, I still wish I could.
Rhiannon, Donna, Ryan , & Dawn.
Rhiannon had this amazing, outgoing attitude and it radiated from her smile, her walk, and definitely from inside. She had more confidence in her than anyone I have ever known. It was that confidence that would try its best to get me to embarrass myself every time we went out to Gametime (a club in Greenville). She would always get me to follow her onto to the highest part of the dance floor so that everyone could see us dancing up there. And of course, she would always show me out.
I don't know if you ever get over the loss of a friend. I've come to understand that Remi was put here to teach us all something, and everyone who knew her was blessed by her in one way or another. Whether we figure it out or not is up to us individually. I know she's with me right now and helping me through, and I know she will be waiting for us all one day in heaven. What a great day that will be!
I love you girl and will miss you always!!!
Ice sledding in a laundry basket! You can take the girl away from winter fun (as we know it in Michigan), but you can't take the winter fun out of the girl! :)
From Ryan Shedd - This was quite funny. We were a little "snowed in" at our house one day, back in January 2005. Me, Rhiannon, and JD, were just hanging out, when Rhiannon got the bright idea that she wanted to play out in the snow. She asked JD if he would pull us around the parking lot of our neighborhood, behind his truck. Well, after some strategic planning and looking for something to slide on the ice in, we suited up, and headed for our little adventure. This included a laundry basket and an extension cord tied to the back of JD's truck. Needless to say, it didn't last too long, it was cold and we couldn't grip the cord very well because it was wet and slippery. This picture is of Rhiannon - I chose to stand on my tennis shoes and ski on my own. It was a blast that night, I'll never forget it. It's a great memory to cherish.
Rhiannon with her sister Miranda at left.
The girls getting ready to go out in Appleton one night. :)
Melissa, Rhiannon, Jasmine, & Miranda
From Jeanine Peerenboom - I came across a birthday card Rhiannon made on her computer for me a few years ago. At the end of the card she wrote: "Thank you for always being there. I'm glad distance has never come between us. You were, are and always will be my best friend. Love Rhiannon". I know in my heart that she is OK and is still with me. She came to me in a dream the other night. Nothing in the dream was how it is in real life except her and I. She stormed the room in jeans, a black shirt, her first riding jacket, and her sunglasses on her head. She looked mad so I jumped in front of her to make her laugh. She just stopped and looked at me with that crooked grin on her face. The next thing I knew she was throwing her arms around me and she giggled that little giggle she has. For some reason, I began to cry and she said to me, "Don't cry, I love you. Don't worry." When I woke up I was still crying and I swore I could still feel her hair against my cheek. It was the first dream that I remember her being there. It was so real and I know she wanted it to be that way. She wanted me to know that she was OK. She wanted all of us to know. I will always love her and keep her in my heart forever. I know that she is next to me in everything I do as she is next to all of us. Watching over us and helping us through life.
Wesley (at left) and Rhiannon met at work (Advanced Automation) and he was a wonderful friend to Rhiannon. They hung out and went to movies and clubs together, and talked about religion on occasion. Wes offered the use of his church for her funeral in Greenville and even delivered an eulogy.
From Doug Harrison (at right) - I knew Rhiannon for only 2 years, but she made quite an impression on me, as she did everyone she met. I hope that she didn't have a problem working in the same room with me. We seem to have gotten along pretty good together. As one co-worker said, "If she hadn't liked you, she would have gone to Ron and told him to get you out of her office!" like she did one guy that was here for a while. I kidded her a lot, but that's the way I am. She always took it with grace, and called me "artillery ears" because my time in the artillery left me about deaf. I would give her a hard time about the candle she would light, and we each brought in "goodies" to share. The other day I noticed marks on the wall in our office and I remembered how they got there. When she came around to talk to me, she would lean against the wall and put one foot against it. I still walk into her side of the office and look at her chair out of habit, expecting to see that blonde head there. Thanks again for the pictures and the web site. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all her family and friends. As the old saying goes, "Only the good die young", and she was one of the best in my book.
Christmas time was Rhiannon's favorite time of year, and she loved to decorate early! She used to get all decked out by Thanksgiving! Lights in every window, garland and decorations all over, and her tree was blue, with silver, white, & crystal. This picture was taken at her last Christmas in 2004 just a few short months before she died. As her cousins Keri & Jake grew older Rhia enjoyed their company more and more. Jake is into cars and stereos so they had a lot to talk about. The Holidays will never be the same without her and my mom. There is no way to describe the pain as we struggle to establish a new "normal". I stumbled across a poem today called "You Can't Win With Me", and it was just as if I wrote it myself, so I added it to this site to share with you.
Ryan & Donna continue to place flowers from time to time at the site of the accident. They bought flowers, garland and a lighted wreath and decorated it with the same blue and white ornaments she had for her tree.
From Ryan Shedd - When I came home on Tuesday (Dec. 20, 2005), Donna and I decided to go to the crash site and do a little decorating for the season. I know how much Remi loved decorating for Christmas. Also, we wanted you to know that she is always with us and we wanted to do this for her.
From Ben Spencer - I have been thinking a lot about our girl this season as I knew it was her favorite. I always envied her addiction to Christmas decorations. I, on the other hand, am lucky that I found my 2 ft Christmas tree in a box or I wouldn't have anything! I had a dream of Rhiannon this week. I met her in a house and when I saw her she gave me big hugs and kisses and told me she was fine. She looked beautiful. I still miss her dearly and know that you do to. That is why I want to extend my fondest wishes to you and your family this season. I thought the card was really awesome. The picture you sent was great.