It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our beautiful mother, Rhonda Kay “Reeves” Hart. Rhonda passed away on December 6th with her girls holding her hands. Through tears, we watched her slip from this life to the next. It brings us great peace to know she was escorted to Heaven by our dad, Joe Hart, and by her loving parents.
We are struggling to find the words to adequately describe her beauty and the impact she had on so many. Mom didn’t need to earn her angel’s wings; she used them throughout her life. She was an angel on earth who truly cared for God’s children. Her compassionate spirit touched the lives of many. She gave freely of her smile, hugs, and time. We are all blessed to have known this beautiful lady.
Rhonda was born on Thanksgiving Day – November 22, 1945 – to Billie Fern Jackson and Riley Reeves in Kimberly, Nevada. Thanksgiving from then on would carry extra significance since Rhonda would be the only child born to Billie and Riley to survive infancy.
Rhonda was the firstborn grandchild and was adored and loved from the beginning by her “people”. The Reeves family moved often due to her dad’s mining career. They lived in mining towns throughout Nevada, California, and Arizona. Their family would make many lifelong friends living in these communities, including the Odom, Lovell, Kellum and Kelley families.
While in grade school, Donna Jean came to live with the Reeves family. Donna Jean would be the sister Rhonda always wanted. Together they would put on plays for family and friends in Silverbell charging them a nickel for their singing and dancing performances. They knew they were destined to be stars, working their way to stardom one nickel at a time. Donna Jean was a great blessing to Rhonda, and their love for each other is without end.
Rhonda loved to learn and was especially gifted in math and grammar. She attended school in Superior, Ray, Marana, Sahuarita, Tucson and Kingman.
Rhonda loved to dance. In her teen years she and her dance partner competed and were selected as the feature couple on American Bandstand. For a young teen, dancing on American Bandstand was a thrill of a lifetime.
In 1963 the Reeves family moved to Kingman, Arizona so her dad could open the Duval mine. They did not know it at the time, but Kingman would become their permanent home. Moving from Tucson was hard as Rhonda was halfway through her junior year of high school. However, she immersed herself in school, becoming part of the student council and the pom pom line. She made friendships that lasted throughout her life.
Rhonda and her mother worked at the local Safeway where they met the Kinateder family. This special family would introduce her to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rhonda joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and would be forever grateful to Joe, Marva and Rick.
After graduation Rhonda went to Brigham Young University. In her second semester of college, her dad was asked to move to South Africa to build a mine and teach the community how to operate it. Her parents did not know how long they would be gone. Rhonda could not stand the thought of being without her parents and decided to leave BYU and move to South Africa. Rhonda loved living, working, and studying abroad.
Upon returning from South Africa the family would settle back in Kingman. Rhonda would meet a young cowboy at the local A&W root beer stand. Rhonda was drawn to Joe due to his ability to dance. After that first dance, she knew she had found her dance partner for life. They never tired of dancing and were a delight to watch on the dance floor.
They eloped to Las Vegas on September 4, 1967, a risky decision with her being an only child, but she knew Joe was the one. They were later sealed in the St. George, Utah temple.
As newlyweds they attended a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in Las Vegas. After buying concert tickets, they didn’t have much money left, so they shared a Coke. This would be the beginning of their shared life together. From then on there wouldn’t be a Joe without Rhonda or Rhonda without Joe. They were true partners in everything, including ranching, radio stations and raising their girls.
Joe and Rhonda had 4 daughters affectionately known as the “Hart Girls:” Cari Jo, Trisha Kay, Jodi Rileen and Amy Jean. Rhonda’s true calling in life was a mother. Her devotion to her children was limitless. She could be found coaching sports she did not play, sewing cheerleading uniforms, making suckers for bake sales, choregraphing school productions, volunteering at Palo Christi, teaching 4H, and being a timer at swim meets. Whatever her girls were interested in, she was all in with her time and support. Rhonda would be their biggest cheerleader.
Rhonda strongly believed in education. She and Joe worked hard so they girls could attend college. With her encouragement and support, the girls earned two associate degrees, four bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees and one doctorate degree. Rhonda enthusiastically attended each graduation, and the girls always acknowledged her key role in their shared accomplishment by presenting her with the tassel.
In 1984 Rhonda and Joe bought KGMN Radio. With Rhonda’s business sense, she helped to grow the broadcasting business to three radio stations and two television stations. Rhonda was a natural salesperson and a tough negotiator that thrived in the business world. The radio station business allowed her to connect with the community in a meaningful way.
Rhonda found joy in helping others and served in many church callings. She was the Relief Society president for the Kingman 1st ward for more than 10 years. She was a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ who recognized the needs of others and was moved by her compassionate heart to help.
Rhonda and Joe were blessed with 11 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren and twin boys coming in June. Rhonda loved her grandbabies and anxiously anticipated each new arrival. She was present at every birth holding her daughter’s hand. Rhonda was an extra special grandma who relished her grandma time. She logged many miles and went through a few minivans traveling the I-15 to attend sporting events, school productions, 4-H competitions, and any other activity that would allow for time with them. The grandkids looked forward to vacationing with Grandma & Papa. They especially loved spending time in Arizona riding horses, swimming, and target practice on the ranch. She always made their visits extra special. To her great-grandchildren she was known as Grandma Great or GG. She would check in with them daily through facetime and they always looked forward to her call. If you asked any of her grandkids, they would each say they were her favorite.
Her service was not only to her family and church, but it also extended to the community. Rhonda would volunteer in many community organizations including Junior Rodeo, Cowbelles, Daughters of the Pioneers, and the Mohave County Museum of History and Arts. Her service to her community was second nature. If there was a need, she stepped in to fill it. She worked to help raise money to build the Kingman Regional Medical Center, served on the Centennial Park committee and brought the Olympic Flame to Kingman. Rhonda received a lifetime achievement award from Women Making History in 2019 recognizing her life of service to the community she loved.
Rhonda was blessed with many lifelong friends including Rolande Bassett, Carloyn Stewart, Martha Darrow, Betty Tyra, Sherry Dusho, Blanche Peterson, Merriday Lawernce, Irma England and countless others.
Rhonda is preceded in death by her loving husband of 55 years Joe Hart, her devoted parents Billie Fern and Riley Reeves. She will finally meet her siblings, Connie Jean, Larry, and Baby Reeves. She will also be reunited with her beloved Grandmother Rhoda Jackson.
Rhonda is survived by her daughters Cari Jo (Jay) Hokanson, Trish (Jeff) Shorter, Jodi (Curry) Wilson and Amy (Mike) Bleak. Grandchildren Brittnee, Jaxon, Sergey, Emalee, Rilee, Brock, Kason, Kylie, Cole, Andre and Julia. Great grandchildren James, McClain, Evalee, Kate, Lucy and Ava. Her Aunt JoAnn Linson, her beloved cousins Connie, Jimmy, Jimmie, Jeff, Julie and Kathy. And lastly her faithful dog Daisy.
A viewing will be held December 16, 2023, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 3180 Rutherford from 11 am to 12:45 pm with services following at 1 pm.
It is our hope to continue Rhonda’s legacy of service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you perform an act of kindness to a stranger or loved one. If everyone served like Rhonda, the world would brighter.