Rhiannon wanted the most unique, biggest, and best of everything. She strove for perfection in all she did and she had a lot of different interests…
From ages 9-11 she belonged to a 4-H club that shot BB guns. She could shoot consistent scores in the high 90's which was better than most of the boys in her age group, and even won awards at regional and state levels. She still enjoyed target practicing with high powered handguns and rifles.
In high school when she was a cheerleader, she was the flier (the one they toss in the air). They could hold her shoes in their hands over their heads and she would stand tall and unafraid. They would toss her into the air and she was totally confident that they would catch her. Their squad consistently won competitions at regional and state levels.
She bought several sets of nun-chucks and had a lot of fun learning how to beat herself up - and later making it look so easy we all wanted to try it! It's hard to see in the picture, but she has two sets going here at the same time. She also had a punching bag in her room where she could take out her frustrations.
She played pool very well and could clear the table on you before you got in your first shot. But better than that, she loved to hustle tables and play all night for free! You know - pretending you don't know how to play, and then winning "by accident"! The guys just HATED that! And THAT was way more fun than winning! Of course the custom pool cue in the case was a dead giveaway, so she usually had that stashed somewhere!
She bought a blue Ford Probe when she lived in Green Bay, that she tricked out, and installed the best sound system money can buy. No one could believe that this little slip of a girl did all the electrical and custom work on her car all by herself! She competed in sound quality competitions and won many trophies - and even went on to judge such events. Now - the idea behind "sound quality" is how loud you could play your stereo without compromising the speakers. You could literally sit in her parked car, and not only could you feel the vibrations throughout your body, the sound waves from the speakers would actually blow your hair back! See her Spec Sheet here.
Nothing was ever left "stock". Even the brand new white Hyundai Tiburon she bought she had modified with tires and wheels, alarm system, special lights, a spoiler, and of course a top of the line stereo - the thing even TALKS to you!
She had an old, crippled cat that she loved dearly, that finally had to be put to sleep last year, and even though that devastated her, she had plans to get a new cat. But not just ANY cat. She had ordered an exotic cat called a Caracal that would grow to 30-50 pounds. A kitten was to be delivered this spring, and she had even planned vacation time so she could bottle feed it!
She was very artistic and could draw anything, and in fact had just started up with that again using charcoal pencils. She had a few tattoos she designed herself that she was real proud of. She even had one planned for her wrist in the near future.
She planned EVERYthing down to the last detail. In the summer of 2004 she had a brand new town house built to her specifications. She picked out every cabinet, appliance, piece of carpeting, paint color, window treatment, and even had new furniture ready to move into it when it was done. Then she spent days painting, arranging furniture, and hanging curtains until her arms were so sore she couldn't even hold the screw gun over her head anymore. She set rules for her new house, and was relentless in enforcing them. You took off your shoes, you did not smoke inside, and you picked up after yourself. Everything was in its place and everything was spotlessly clean.
Rhiannon had set incredibly high standards for herself and her life. If she was your friend she would do absolutely anything for you. She would never tell you a lie, and was brutally truthful in her relationships. If you hurt her, or wronged her, she would forgive you but she might not forget it. She fell in love a few times and had her heart broken, and after that she became a bit untouchable. That and the fact that any potential boyfriend must first pass an incredible "test", well let's just say, they got disqualified and she dismissed them at will. Not many lived up to her standards.
When she lived in Green Bay she worked for Optima Machinery Corp in the engineering department doing CAD work, but she also took on the job of Quality Control Analyst. Well, she absolutely loved that part! Her highly analytical mind and organizational skills made her ideal for this, and she reveled in the ability to tell everyone what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It was a power trip!
Then she moved to Greenville, SC and accepted a position at an engineering firm called Advanced Automation. When they gave her an assignment, she went at it from every angle, and came up with the best way to get the job done. Because of this she was promoted to Project/Engineering Facilitator for every Project Manager and Engineer in the company! When she attended meetings, she made sure they were ready to hear her report, and she would give them 5 or 10 minutes, would answer a few questions, and then she left because "she had WORK to do". They told me they were grooming her for Project Management. It was going to be a landmark in their company because no woman had ever held that position before. She was loved and respected at work.
Last of all, there was the new motorcycle that she had dreamed of for a long time, and bought in 2002. Her Yamaha R6 had a custom windshield, lowered frame, shortened foot pegs, frame sliders, and special lights. She had leather jackets, gloves, boots, and of course a special radar detector "enhanced" helmet that was loaded with autographs from racers. She loved riding - especially in the mountains or on any curvy road. Everyone said she was a very good rider and she was very excited to show me that she could do wheelies! She was very proud of the fact that she had no chicken lines. Chicken lines are the marks the pavement makes on the tires when you lean around corners - you can tell by looking at the tires how hard a rider leans. Well, she didn't have any - she leaned as far as she could without laying her bike down. The guys she rode with told her that if she hit a bump in the road she would be in trouble. They all watched out for her and took very good care of her, but on April 3, 2005 it was a curvy road that claimed her life. She was riding with a couple of friends on her way to a Bar-B-Q when she missed a corner and hit the embankment of a drainage ditch.
When we got the phone call I nearly collapsed. The next few days went by in the fog of surrealism, as though this must be a nightmare. But it was real. There is a terrible void in my life, and I feel as though my heart was ripped right out. If it weren't for my spiritualityI just don't know where I'd be at this moment. He has carried me through these difficult times, and will continue to do so the rest of my life.
At only 24, she was a beautiful, smart, talented young lady. Her flame burned brighter than ever, but for such a short time. She had everything she ever wanted or ever dreamed of, and lived life to the fullest. She never did anything half-way. It was all or nothing, and nothing was not an option. We miss her every day.