Albert Edward Rheams was born June 9,1935 in Whitehouse, Texas to Albert Jack Rheams and Lorine Whitmill. Albert was the oldest of 5 siblings. He is proceeded in death by his parents Albert Jack Rheams and Lorine Rheams, his wife Ruth Ella Rheams, son Michael Rheams and sister Jewellen Mayes. He departed this life and gained his wings on Saturday August 19, 2023 after battling pneumonia.
On December 6, 1960, Albert married the love of his life, Ruth Ella Rheams, in Waco, Texas. He fell in love with Ruth while being associated with his childhood friends and classmates, which were her brothers, Riley and Henry Rand. The love they shared was grand. Traveling around the world while enlisted in the military they eventually decided to start a family. After retiring from the military, they moved to Odessa, Texas. From this union came two children, Mellonee Rheams and Albert Edward Rheams ll. Family meant the world to Albert. Working as a coach, educator and a mentor to many, he still made sure that his Godly charge and duties of being a great husband and father was a priority.
Albert was born in Whitehouse, however, in 1945 and for the greater part of his life he resided in Odessa, Texas where he completed his elementary through high school education. Albert was a two-sport athlete, he excelled in basketball. Upon graduation from Blackshear High School in 1954 he received a basketball scholarship to attend Prairieview A&M University. While at Prairieview, known to many as “The Hill”, he majored in Physical Education with a minor in Biology. He also joined the ROTC program where he became a commissioned officer. He graduated with his bachelor's degree in 1958. After graduation, he entered the United States Army as a Second Lieutenant, Commissioned Officer. He completed his first tour of duty in Germany where he later became an Air Borne Ranger before retiring in 1964 as a First Lieutenant, with an Honorable Discharge. After the military, Albert returned to West Texas and found immediate employment at his alma mater, Blackshear High School, where he became a biology teacher and a coach. When Blackshear High School closed Albert migrated to the new high school in South Odessa, Ector High. He continued as a science teacher and basketball coach where he led great teams to many district championships along with deep playoff runs and eventually led one of those teams to a State Championship for the City of Odessa. Albert resigned from coaching basketball but continued to teach at Odessa College where he was a welding technology professor and also a teacher at Crocket Junior High. He taught science until his retirement from Ector County Independent School District. Albert never stopped learning; he was always in search of new challenges. At the young age of 75 he became a licensed Insurance Adjuster in the State of Texas.
Albert had so many hobbies, to name a few, he and his beautiful wife Ruth participated in competitive bowling, and he played golf for over 45 years before losing both of his legs. The normal individual would just hang it up and retire from any competitive sport or activity after enduring the loss of multiple limbs, but not Albert. He took his talents to the pool table. Playing pool became one of the greatest joys of his life. The sport was such a joy that instead of having furniture for neighborly comfort in his living room, Albert placed a pool table as his center piece for entertainment. He got so good at the game that he played in one of the largest Pro Am and Amateur tournaments in the United States, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There are many adjectives that could be used to describe Mr. Albert Edward Rheams, loving, kind, fearless, competitive, smart, talented, firm, inquisitive. The list is long! There are also many roles that describe who he was during his extraordinary lifetime. He was a husband, father, grandfather, papa, brother, uncle, teacher, mentor, champion and friend. With God’s grace, he was granted a full and well lived life.
Yet, while he was many things to different individuals, he was a Proverbs 27:17 man to us all! “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” This scripture reminds us that we are not alone in the world and that we are not intended to be alone. It calls us to make one another better. That is who Papa Rheams was and that is what he did! He made us all know that we were not alone, and he openly displayed a love for others that was heartfelt. He claimed you as his own. He made us all want to be better. He was a fierce competitor, always willing to teach and guide others into excellence.
Like iron, he was lustrous, he shined at everything he did. Like iron, he was malleable, his spirit was never broken, no matter what he endured. He was cooperative and adaptable, making him a lifelong learner seeking to understand the world as it changed around him; and allowing him to make friends and “adopt” people across all boundaries. Papa Rheams was a real life “iron man” who is deeply loved and who will be deeply missed. Everyone who knew him has a story that begins, “I will never forget the time he…” As we celebrate his life and grieve during this time of loss, we ask that you hold your story close to your heart and share it when there is an occasion to do so.
He leaves behind his loving family members; his daughter, Mellonee Rheams & daughter-in-law; Marie King (Red Oak, Texas); his son, Albert Edward Rheams II and daughter-in-law; Darcus S. Rheams (Ferris, Texas); Janetta Dewitt (Sister); Leslie Rheams (Brother) & Billy Cleaver Jr (brother); Four loving Grandchildren Floreca Rheams-Fickens, Morgan Brittnae Rheams, Albert Edward Rheams III & Quincy Rheams. Three great-grandchildren; James Fickens III, Fallon Fickens, Fenley Fickens.