On May 10, 1948, Charlotte and Richard Blake welcomed a precious baby girl into the world, Maria Jean, a little earlier than expected on the beautiful island of Montserrat in the British West Indies. She also departed the world earlier than expected on Feb. 25, 2016, after an extended illness.
Her mother, Charlotte E. Blake, was a strong influence on her life and her biggest supporter. Maria immigrated to the United States via Boston in 1967. She married Eddie Lee Rhone in September of 1968 after a brief courtship in Boston. Together, they toured the world in the course of his military career.
Their union produced five children, two who preceded her in passing away and three who remain to celebrate her life, Verlisa Washington (Ted), Edward Rhone (Eunice) and Claryce Rhone.
Maria has four siblings who remain as well: Frances, Alfred ( Judalyn), Marjorie (Barrington) and Stedman (Vendorine).
She loved her grandchildren — Ashley, Theodore III, Allison, Adrianne, Thaddeus, Clarissa, Edward II, Elliott and Elijah — with a love that has no comparison.
She was a warm, loving and supportive aunt to her numerous nieces and nephews: Audrey, Cynthia, Mark, Aisha, Yolanda, Vinoll, Vishnu, Ramesh, Shani, Amili, Nakeda, Damien, Marc and Ashley.
There are countless lives that she touched with her wry humor, unwavering loyalty and unconditional love.
After 13 years and many duty stations, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Louisville. She retired after 36 years of civil service as a revenue agent for the Internal Revenue Service. She was also the proprietor of Leeward Island Tax and Bookkeeping Services. She received a commission as a Kentucky Colonel in recognition of her exemplary work during her career with the Internal Revenue Service. She was a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 4379. She volunteered her time and knowledge for many organizations, such as the junior achievement Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), among others.
She always emphasized the importance of a good education and perseverance as the tools to success. She often said “Don’t tell me what you can’t do; tell me what you can do.” She was an avid sports fan and an award-winning athlete in her youth. She loved music and she loved to dance. She was usually the first one to dance. She loved to hear her husband sing and she often sang to her children and grandchildren. She was a huge fan of The Beatles, the Temptations and the Mighty Arrow. She instilled a strong drive for independence, hard work and a love of God in her children.
There will be a wake from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 11, at Young Zion Baptist Church located at 4500 Highway 40 East in St. Marys. The celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 12, also at Young Zion Baptist Church. The family asks that you refrain from wearing dark colors to honor Mrs. Rhone’s wish that only bright colors be worn.
Flowers and donations can be sent to Sunset Funeral Home, attention Eddie Rhone, 401 N. Lee St., Kingsland, GA 31548.