Rhonda Charlene Gilliam Nickell, age 58 of Kingston, left this Earth and entered the gates of Heaven to receive her ultimate healing on Wednesday, March 30th, 2022 at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. She was born on March 5th, 1964 and was a 1982 graduate of Roane County High School in Kingston.
Rhonda was a member of Union Chapel Baptist Church in Kingston for much of her life and a member of Pine Orchard Baptist Church of Oakdale for the past decade. Above all else, she was a wonderful Christian example to those around her, her faith in God and her love for Jesus was evident to anyone who spent time with her.
Rhonda worked for over 25 years for the Roane County School System, as the coordinator for the Before and After School Program (BASP) and as the director of both WeeBee Daycare locations. “Mrs. Rhonda”/” Mamaw”, as she was affectionately known, will be missed by the many little ones whose lives she touched over the years.
She will always be remembered as being strong and stubborn, determined, and a fighter. She loved her family more than anything in this world and they never doubted her dedication to them. She loved the color red, sloths, apples,cheesy sci-fi movies, classic rock music,blackberry tea from Sonic, Scooby Doo, and fully decorating her home for each and every holiday. She will always be remembered as someone who made even an ordinary day feel like a special occasion and she was a selfless, giving, loving person.
She was met at the gates of Heaven by her mother, Nancy Pennington Edmonds, her father Ronnie Gilliam, her stepfather, Terry Edmonds, and her two precious grandsons, Brayden Christopher and Landon Travis Ariks. She was also preceded in death by her father-in-law, James (Jimmy) Nickell.
She is survived by her loving, devoted husband of 38 years, Ronnie Nickell, her son and daughter in law, Joey and Kim Nickell, her daughter Jessica Ariks, and former son in law, Chris Ariks, all of Kingston. Ronnie and Rhonda shared a love so pure and committed, it was a rare and beautiful thing to witness. Their children meant the world to her. She never missed a chance to tell them how much she loved them and how proud she was of them.
Her children blessed her with 5 young ladies who were the light of her life, her greatest source of pride, and the reason she fought so hard for so long: her cherished, adored granddaughters. If you knew Rhonda at all, you knew how much love and affection she had for her “girls”. Some of her favorite moments werewhen she was cheering them on from the bleachers, Black Friday shopping with pancakes at IHOP, birthday celebrations, holidays spent together, and every day in between. These incredible girls are SaraBeth and Myley Nickell, and Laci, Abigail (Abby), and Madison (MK) Ariks, all of Kingston. May they always know how much they meant to their Mamaw and how much she absolutely adored them.
She is also survived by her loving mother in law, Reva Nickell, of Kingston, her brother and sister-in-law, James and Trish Edmonds of Athens, TN, her sisters and brothers-in-law, Lisa and Shannon Hester of Kingston, and Pam and Donnie Black of Crossville, TN, her sister and brother, Lucretia Kitzmiller and Mikey Gilliam of Duffield, VA. “Aunt Rhonda” had many nieces and nephews that she adored, Jacob and Jalani Hester and their daughter Carolyn Lou, of Moncks Corner, SC, Sam Hester and Brittany Bauer of Clarksville, TN, Jonathan Hester of Kingston, Terry Edmonds of Athens, Whitney Young and Alex Kitzmiller of Kingsport, TN, Lexi and Jacob Hansen and their children Asher and Berklee Hansen, of Kingston.
She will be lovingly remembered by the congregations of Union Chapel Baptist Church and Pine Orchard Baptist Church, both of which were like an extended family to her. She thoroughly enjoyed working with all of her co-workers with Roane County Schools, and made many friends over the years. A special thank you goes to Dr. Keevin Woody and MagonStakely for their support and help to her.
Throughout the journey with her health over the past four years, she had many wonderful doctors and medical professionals who cared for her. None were more incredible to her than Dr. Daniel Ibach of Tennessee Cancer Specialists. He prayed with her, fought beside her, encouraged her, and was a part of her life until the very end. Many thanks to his staff at Tennessee Cancer Specialists in Knoxville, the physicians and staff at Methodist Medical Center and at Parkwest Medical Center for their exemplary care.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, April 3rd from 4-7 pm at the Grove Church in Kingston with Rev. Randy Roper and Rev. Cal Adams leading the Celebration of Life service immediately following at 7 pm. Fraker’sFuneral Home of Kingston is handling the arrangements for the family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rhonda Gilliam Nickell, please visit our floral store.