Joe Rheney, who was born Oct. 24, 1938, passed away Dec. 29, 2017.
Joe was raised on a dairy farm in Tennille, Georgia, in a tight-knit, loving family who taught him what was important in life.
He learned about hard work, respect for others and love for God's creation as he grew up among the fields and pecan groves.
After graduating from Tennille High School, he attended the University of Georgia, where he heard Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) speak about each person's need for Jesus Christ, even if they had lived a good life by human standards.
He realized that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that he personally needed a savior. He placed his faith in what God the son had done for him on the cross (Romans 5:8) and was spiritually "born again" (John 3:6-7). Joe focused the rest of his life on sharing his relationship with and love for Christ.
After graduation, he briefly worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before receiving his ROTC commission in the Army as a second lieutenant and attending Airborne and Ranger schools at Fort Benning, Georgia.
After serving on active duty, at Fort Ord, California, he spent time in the Army Reserves Special Forces Group and enrolled at the Multnomah Bible school, later switching to Dallas Theological Seminary for three years, majoring in Biblical languages.
He met Ann Billings, his true love, at a Navigator Bible study in Dallas in 1964 and was married in 1965. After their son, Chris, was born in 1971, Joe took a job with State Farm. In 1978 a promotion required a transfer to West Virginia where he helped pastor a new Church and served as a Bible teacher.
He also mentored many young men through the years, showing them how to follow the Lord and love his word. Retiring from State Farm in 2008, he continued to serve as an elder and Bible teacher at Chestnut Ridge Community Church. In West Virginia, Joe found a passion for kayaking and served as a whitewater guide for college and church ministry groups. He paddled the rivers year-round until he was 72.
In 2013, he and Ann moved to San Antonio, Texas, to be near their son Chris and his family due to Joe's failing health. Despite years of pain and limited mobility, he always kept a cheerful attitude and was focused on "finishing the race well" (2 Tim 4:7). He would often joke saying, "There is nothing wrong with me that a good resurrection won't cure!"
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph S. and Phyllis L. Rheney; and sisters, Nancy Newsome and Patricia Boggs. Joe is survived by his loving wife of 52 and half years, Lillian Ann Rheney; son, Chris Rheney (Beth); grandchildren, Matthew, Alex, Katie and Kara; nephews and nieces, Jonathan, Lauren, Benjamin, Patrick, Melanie and Jennifer.
Funeral services will be held at Porter Loring North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio, TX 78232 at 9 a.m. on Thursday, immediately followed by burial service with military honors at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery (1520 Harry Wurzbach Road San Antonio, TX 78209) at 10:45 a.m.
Flowers may be sent to Porter Loring North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East, 78232, or Joe would rejoice in a donation to Dallas Theological Seminary in his name (follow the link and click the "in memory" box). He was passionate about the word of God, and his time at DTS equipped him to share Biblical truth and exposition with others.
Published on January 6, 2018