Belinda Sue “Bee” Rhea, age 69, passed away from this life on January 26, 2021 in Beaumont, TX, as her dragonesque soul took flight into the heavens. Belinda was born on June 24, 1951 in Texarkana, TX to William Henry and Vonda Lea Boughner VanZandt.
In Belinda, three immutable qualities radiated her unique and colorful nature: she was youthful always in her heart; happiness was her compass in all of life’s situations; and the love she had, no matter the circumstances, for family, friends, and even animals was unwavering and faithfully constant. With a personality that flowered into so many wonderful expressions, she made her life interesting to know about. Belinda was a firecracker, and about as colorful as one too; though being an “old hippie”, she did not care about her age, and to the outside observer, her eccentricities and hobbies were impossible to gauge or categorize. Her interests melded themselves into a beautiful array. As a music fan, anything from classic and hard rock, such as ZZ Top and the Eagles, to Classical Symphonies, all brought joy to her. To say that she had an affinity for dragons would insult her and the dragons; Belinda adored the mystical nature and beauty they possessed. She collected rocks, loved paraphernalia that reflected the nickname “Bee”, given by her friends, and intensely loved animals, even working at a veterinary office. Growing up with a big family, Bee developed a love for spending time with them, and when she was blessed with her own family and grandchildren, she found a new outlet for that love. For nearly twenty years, she devotedly tended and cared for her ailing mother in Texarkana, which limited her sociability, yet she formed close friendships at the same time with her dear friends, Mickey, Virginia, and Wendy. They started a weekly Mexican food club, going once a week for Mexican food and Margaritas, a tradition that she would continue with her daughter-in-law later. Belinda’s life changed when her mother passed, and this prompted a move to Jasper, closer to her son and grandchildren. The city girl came to the country, and she enjoyed very much the peace and quiet of country life and the nature around her. One would be hard pressed to find a more true, faithful friend, even for those with no one else, Bee was there for people in need, even if it meant giving away her last dollar. She was simply happy, and with enduring vibrance, she never let the ups and downs of life age her spirit. Belinda put it best, and with a genuine response and honest acceptance she would respond “and that’s just the way it goes, first your money, then your clothes.” Though she is gone, in those simple words that she lived by and loved by, her lesson echoes in the hearts of those that will forever remember this special, unique person.
Left to honor her memory is her son, Greg Rhea and wife, Kristina “Tina” Rhea; daughter, Lisa Baffuto Doles and husband, Bryan; brothers, Kim “Kimbo” VanZandt of Houston, TX and William “Little Willie” VanZandt and wife, Cecile, of Texarkana, TX; sister, Katrina Clift of Texarkana, TX; grandchildren, Halle Rhea, Brooke Zmolick and husband, Jonny, Courtney Nicole Baffuto, Jessica Marie Baffuto, Jina Jolie Baffuto, Avere Grayson Doles, and Emerson Ivy Doles; great-granddaughter, Isabella Zmolick; her canine companion, “Libby”, a Chihuahua; and a host of extended family and friends.
Belinda is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved dog, Layla, a Boxer that she rescued and dearly loved.
Bee’s life honoring memorial service will be on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., at Forest Oaks Funeral Home, 766 S. Main St, Jasper, TX, with Bro. Brian South officiating.