Tamara Lobard Essley Rhyan went to be with her Lord and Savior on February 5. Tammi passed away surrounded by her cherished family in the comfort of her home.
Tami, Mimi, to her grandchildren, had a meaningful and exciting life. She was born to Dixie Ellen Essley and Pete Lombard Essley on January 2, 1938 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tami was very proud of her Osage heritage and was active in tribal issues. She graduated from Tulsa Central High School and continued her education at the University of Oklahoma.
Tami was joined in marriage with Earnest William Rhyan, Jr. (Bill) on June 14, 1957 at Boston Avenue Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together, in loving Christian home, they raised their four children. Tami is survived by her husband Bill Rhyan, Jr., her children, Susan Bratten (Jeff) of Abilene; Janey Wawerna (Peter) of Islamorada, Florida; Bill Rhyan, III (Terri) of Round Mountain, Texas and Sarah Lattimer (Jacob) of Katy, Texas. She is also survived by grandchildren, Stephen Miller (Michelle), Kyley Llewellyn (Carter), Dixie Gunselman (Doug), Lucy Vinson (Sam), Logan Sturgis (Taylor), Molly Reynolds (Bradley, Parker Lattimer (Sarah), Ali Rhyan, Connor Braaten, Paige Lattimer, Chloe Braaten, Darby Lattimer, Erik Lattimer and thirteen great grandbabies. A sister, Tisa Wilhelmsen, brother John Essley (Joyce) and many nieces and nephews complete her family. Tami was preceded in death by her parents and numerous aunts and uncles.
Tami was a devoted daughter, a loyal sister, a loving wife, dedicated mother, affectionate aunt, wonderful grandmother and a true friend to many. Her youthful spirit and love for her family never grew old.
Her style and grace may have come from her love of dance. The Lord used this talent far beyond the dance floor, enabling her to choreograph a wonderful life for her family. In Bill she found the perfect partner to dance hand and hand with throughout life.
After college, never missing a beat, she married Bill, her childhood sweetheart. As the bride of a young military officer, she learned to quickstep across the country. Tami moved from Tulsa and traveled happily with Bill wherever he was called. Together, they moved more than 30 times. Tami made a home for her family in eight different states, as well as Verona and Vicenza, Italy. She danced through the joys and challenges of military life, including Bill’s two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Tami had a gift for making any house a welcoming and beautiful home for Bill and the children. Hospitality was a language she mastered both stateside and abroad. Her love for entertaining allowed countless friends and family members the opportunity to make memories that will span many lifetimes.
Their life was never short on adventure; however, traveling the globe, raising four kids, having 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren did increase the tempo. Tami’s life was greatly enriched through her membership at St. Paul’s Methodist Church and involvement in Bible Study Fellowship, Abilene Women’s Club, Abilene Philharmonic Guild, Los Aficionados, and her birthday club.
Tami was a lovely woman; her spirit was ageless; her beauty timeless. She embodied the sophistication of an elegant waltz and the spunk of a sassy jitterbug. Bill, the love her life, said it best, “Tami, you are one classy girl!”