Rowe was born on November 6, 1924, in Americus, Ga. The fourth of six Rhett brothers, Pop, as he was affectionately called by his family, graduated from high school in Columbus, and played on the football team while attending Mississippi State University. He served in World War II and later married his sweetheart, Betty Lewis, on December 19, 1948. When Betty died of cancer in 1990, they had been a devoted couple for almost 43 years. Their married life was spent almost entirely in Cleveland, where Pop worked for Planters Equipment. A familiar figure on Cleveland tennis courts, he was a formidable player for decades because of his great stamina, shot making ability, and ambidextrous playing style.
Pop loved gardening and always had a large and productive vegetable garden, which he shared with friends, neighbors, and family. Another love was his horses, though he didn’t buy his first one until he was 60-years-old. Over the years his family nicknamed him the “Horse Whisperer” of the Delta because of his extraordinary ability to handle and train them. He didn’t give up his riding and gardening until he was 86-years-old.
More important than anything else in his life was Pop’s relationship with Jesus Christ and with his family. He was a model to his sons and grandchildren of what a husband, father, and Christian gentleman should be and do. He was a man of prayer and prayed faithfully and regularly for his family, extended family, and friends. A deacon at First Baptist Church in Cleveland for many years, he was a greeter at the church on Sunday mornings right up until a few months before his death and made a point of studying the church directory so he could call people by name.
Pop will be gratefully remembered by his sons and daughters-in-law, Rowe and Melinda Rhett of Memphis, Glenn and Gail Rhett of Vicksburg, Bob and Kay Rhett of Canton, 10 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church in Cleveland on Saturday, November 2, 2013, at 11 a.m., and visitation will be in the fellowship hall the hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Baptist Medical & Dental Mission International (BMDMI) , 11 Plaza Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39402, the First Baptist Church (Cleveland) Buildings Renovation Fund, or a charity of the donor’s choice.
Memorial Funeral Home, Columbus, MS (662)328-4432