That’s the Way Life Is
On August 27, 1954, a “Gentle Giant” entered the earth realm. This giant was the third of nine children born to Elvin and Gracie Rhone, residing at the time in Pickens, Arkansas. They named him Jimmie Neal. Although he was named Jimmie, he was called Jim after his maternal grandfather, Jim Moore. As a child, young Jim was often found following the leadership of his older brother, Elvin – whether they were climbing trees, catching “crawdaddies”, playing marbles, rolling tires, or vandalizing their sister’s neatly organized “mud pies”.
Jim grew up in Dumas, Arkansas. He attended A. L. Reed Elementary, A. L. Reed Junior High, A. L. Reed High School; and as a product of the early Racial Desegregation Act in Arkansas, finished his public schooling at Dumas High School. Jim, along with his siblings, followed his Mother’s call to Holiness. They attended the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Dumas. Their pastor was Elder Thomas LaFlora. Jim was taught the ways of the Lord and gave his life to God at an early age. As a teenager, and with the permission of his parents, Jim moved his membership to the West Dumas Church of God in Christ where he could follow his new Pastor, Elder A. L. Hunt, in a more youth-structured environment. His gifts and talents began to flourish, and Jim became one of the best guitar players in Dumas.
Jim, as a part of the Rhone Family, had learned to overcome many obstacles in life, and as was the trend of many southern young people of that era, decided to migrate North for better opportunities. He came to Kansas City, where his brother and sister Elvin and Evalyn already resided with their families. Many called him “Big Jim” because of his towering presence, and if you hadn’t known him you would be intimidated and unaware of the teddy bear he really was. He became a member of the Faith Deliverance Church of God in Christ, where Elder Lee Harold Johnson was pastor at the time.
It was at Faith Deliverance that Jim met and married the beautiful Santisa James on June 5th, 1980. To this union, four intelligent and handsome sons were born. Jim enjoyed sharing life experiences with his family, including road trips, fishing, playing guitar, the Blues, and going to church. He loved sharing music with his sons, which included songs he created specifically for them. He would often play his guitar for hours in the basement of their home, and his sons would dance and sing right along with him.
In 2004, after 24 years together, Jim and Santisa parted ways and traveled along new life paths.
One particular song, Jim’s original composition “That’s the Way Life Is”, embodied his philosophy and perspective on life. It is widely known and cherished throughout the faith community.
He pushed his sons to be better than himself by often telling them “get your education” and instilled in them that being a real man meant taking responsibility for your actions even when it was challenging. He worked at ConAgra Swift, where he retired after 20+ years. Jim remained a member at Faith Deliverance until he decided to support his brother, Pastor Elvin Rhone Jr., at Power Realm Church of God in Christ. Jim remained a faithful member there, continuing to play the guitar and write songs. He was the epitome of hard work, “family first”, and love.
Jim, in his battle with life-threatening illnesses, decided to “Keep the Faith”! Early on during his illness, Jim said, “The angels came for me, and I told them, y’all go on back, cause I’m not ready”, and they left. But on Thursday, September 6, 2018, Jim replied, “YES, LORD, I’M READY TO ENTER INTO YOUR GLORY!” At the age of 64, he left this earthly realm and joined the heavenly host.
Jim is preceded in death by his father, Elvin Rhone Sr., mother, Gracie L. Cobb, Sister, Willa Rhone, and four grandchildren Nehemiah, Alyssa, and twin daughters.
Jim leaves behind four sons whom he loved, admired, and thought the world of: Jimmie (Natasha), Jarvis (Janaia), Jahvelle (TeAndra), and Jermaine; Jim cherished his eight grandchildren, Ari’el, Ja’el, Jaelynn, Victoria, Layla, Kal-El, Skye, and Logan Rhone; his brothers, Elvin (Betty), Clint (Rosalind), Tracy (Ruth), and Tim, and his two sisters, Evalyn (Frank) and Albertine will always remember him; a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends will lovingly remember Jim.
#RHONESTRONG – That’s the Way Life Is