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1938 Rheta 2024

Rheta A. Hawkins

October 25, 1938 — March 11, 2024


Rheta Ann Hawkins, 85, beloved wife, mom, Grandma, Mammaw and Nanny, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2024. She is reunited with her beloved son Louie, who preceded her in death.

Rheta was born October 25, 1938 on the west side of Indianapolis. Rheta met her sweetheart Louis in 1952 at a local confectionery, and they married on January 30, 1955. They celebrated 69 years of marriage in January. Her loving husband survives.

Rheta was a proud stay-at-home mom to their three children. She was a Brownie leader for her daughters’ troops and a daycare provider for neighborhood families and friends. Rheta worked as the activities director at Lawrence Manor Nursing Home for five years, and she claimed to still have every dime she earned.

Rheta’s favorite times were spent with family and friends at Lakewood Marina on Lake Shaefer. She and Louis took annual vacations to Gatlinburg where Rheta enjoyed seeing the fall leaves and driving through the Smoky Mountains. She loved making memories at the race track, summer trips with her daughters and grandchildren to Holiday World, and family fall breaks in Kentucky. Rheta also enjoyed day trips to Brown County, where she was known to bail out of the van when she feared it would drive off a cliff.

One of her greatest joys in life was becoming a Nanny to her great-grandchildren. She would sweep the front porch, anxiously waiting for them to arrive for a visit after school, where they enjoyed snacks and played on the playset together.

While the past several years were filled with health challenges and setbacks, Rheta never lost her sense of humor and wit. She watched Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond around the clock, and she could recite lines in her sleep. Her favorite food group was sweets. One of her Sunday evening rituals included sharing a chocolate cherry cordial with great granddaughters Shelby and Kennedy before bedtime and saying “Cheers!” to the week ahead.

Rheta loved her family unconditionally. She taught them what it meant to be a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. Her love knew no boundaries, and she gave the best hugs.

Rheta is also survived by daughters Cindy (David) Dudgeon and Vicki (Dan) Furlani; grandchildren Amanda (Todd) Westerfield, Jennifer (Don) Swartz, Allison (Justin) Hunt and Jeffrey (Shannon) Thinnes, Daniel and Anthony Furlani; great-grandchildren Shelby and Kennedy Westerfield, Adison and Luke Swartz, Connor and Grant Hunt, Logan Thinnes and Kallie Benedick; great-great-granddaughter Lennox; and sisters, Sharon and Anita, and brother John. She was preceded in death by her brother, Richard.

The family would like to thank the staff at Southpointe Healthcare Center, Gentiva Hospice, and Nurse Jen at Franciscan Home Healthcare, for their compassionate care over the past three years. They would also like to express their unending gratitude to Shelby Ann for her role as a loving care provider to Nanny.

Memorial contributions can be made to the American Heart Association or the Riley Children’s Foundation.

A visitation will be held on Monday, March 18, 2024, from 4-8PM at Flanner Buchanan--Washington Park East, 10722 E. Washington St. Indianapolis, Indiana, 46229. A funeral service will be held the following day at the funeral home starting at 12PM. Rheta will be laid to rest in Washington Park East Cemetery.
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