Wayland Rhea Obituary, Death – With heavy hearts, we share the news of the peaceful passing of Wayland Dean Rhea, aged 75, after a brief battle with cancer. Dean was not just a resident of our community but a steadfast pillar of strength who dedicated his life to serving others.
Dean’s upbringing was truly international, having attended school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amman, Jordan, and graduating in 1967 from the Tehran American School in Tehran, Iran. He later returned to Sneedville, TN, where he would spend the remainder of his life.
Passionate about politics and business, Dean’s impact on his community was profound. He served as the City Mayor of Sneedville for an impressive 35 years, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to its residents. Additionally, he held key positions such as president and Head Board member of the Sneedville Utility District and County Commissioner for over a decade. All the while, Dean managed numerous businesses within Sneedville.
Dean was preceded in death by his wife, Kathy Rhea, and his grandparents, Lee and Katherine Rhea, as well as his parents, William (Bill) and Lucille Rhea.
He is survived by his devoted significant other of six years, Pam Mullins, two loving sons, Kenneth Rhea (Pam Barnett) and Jonathan Rhea, three sisters—Billie Rhea Phillips, Sylvia (S.L.) Johnson, and Shelly (Kenny) Reed—and a host of beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A special mention must go to Dean’s cherished friends and customers at Rhea’s Package Store, who meant so much to him.
Mr. Rhea will be laid to rest at the William Rhea Cemetery, following a funeral service at Sneedville First Baptist Church on Tuesday, September 19th, 2023, at 11:00 am, with Rev. Darrell Ramsey officiating. Friends and family are invited to pay their respects at McNeil Funeral Home on Monday, September 18th, 2023, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and a visitation period from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm on the same day.
McNeil Funeral Home in Sneedville is honored to serve the Rhea Family during this time.