We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at A. E. Carter Funeral Home
Rhonda Melea Erwin
June 29, 1956 - September 2, 2022
Rhonda Erwin, 66, passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, September 2, 2022. She was
surrounded by her loving caregivers, close friends and her beloved cats.
Born on June 29, 1956 in Covington Kentucky and shortly after, moving with her family to rural
Florida, Rhonda spent her early life on a thoroughbred horse farm. As soon as she was able,
Rhonda was expected to wake early and help care for the horses before school. She was even
known to ride her horse to school when weather permitted. Her love of animals and strong work
ethic were fostered during these formative years.
As she grew, her interests broadened. During high school Rhonda was a cheerleader and a
gymnast. She excelled in her studies and skipped a grade, graduating high school at the age of
sixteen. She then entered the University of Pennsylvania but after one term decided to return
home to Florida. Being a quick study, she landed a job with an insurance group. Within three
years she was managing their marketing department and TRIPLED their sales.
In the 1970s Rhonda met her beloved husband, Ron. They were a matched pair in personality,
ambition, and energy. United by their common interests, they began new ventures including
owning and operating a successful store across from Universal Studios in Tampa Florida. In
1984 they married and moved to Madison where they truly honed their retail and marketing
skills. Ron & Rhonda owned and operated various retail entities in downtown Madison including,
“Utterly Yours,” “In High Cotton,” and “Laughing Moon”. They both enjoyed hunting for and filling
their stores with unique items and bargains their customers would cherish. Loved and
respected by those they worked with, many employees and vendors became personal friends.
Ron and Rhonda built a loyal customer base in their 30-plus years in retail. Weekly, long time
customers venture in reminiscing about a special piece they bought in the past and looking for a
similar treasure. Together they nurtured everything they touched, from buildings and businesses
to flora and fauna.
They enjoyed restoring historic homes and owned one of the first Bed and Breakfast
establishments in Madison, The Boat House. They spent endless hours in their flower and
vegetable gardens accompanied by their numerous dogs and cats. Rhonda would nurture an
injured bird back to health and build compost piles in her yard for the turtles and chipmunks as
much as for her own garden beds. At days end, neighbors remember Rhonda taking the fresh
laundry off the clothesline, calling their animals one by one for dinner, before enjoying a home
cooked meal she had lovingly prepared in her gourmet kitchen that Ron built.
Rhonda also relished her volunteer time and especially her work with animal related non-profits
including CARI (Companion Animal Rescue, Inc).
They loved nothing more than a good party and were noted hosts. Music was one of the things
they loved the most and a good “RAWK” band was an excuse for gathering friends for a night on
the town. Rhonda enjoyed entertaining her staff each Christmas and would decorate her home
and prepare elaborate spreads for all to enjoy. A Florida girl at heart, Rhonda relished the
sunshine, spending most of her at-home hours in her yard and cruising the town in her
convertible, top down. On her last birthday, she rose to the occasion, darning a hula skirt and a
pink lei over a Laughing Moon t-shirt.
Many of the traits that inwardly drove Rhonda to excel may have also caused others to step
back or perhaps even be afraid of her, and in some cases rightfully so. Rhonda had a keen
sense of intuition. Her 'radar' could reach far beyond the horizon and she was fearless about
letting you know what she discovered. It's true what they say about well-behaved women rarely
making history -- Rhonda certainly made some legendary history. But beneath that tough
exterior, Rhonda was a kind and creative soul. She was a tireless worker, an independent and
principled woman, and had high expectations of herself and others.
Ronda was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Ronald M. Erwin. Together they leave
behind a generous legacy including what will soon be a wonderful park in Madison for all the
dogs and their accompanying humans to enjoy. A Memorial Celebration of Life is planned for
Saturday, October 22nd at 2:00 p.m. in the garden at 364 Porter Street, Madison.
Donations in memory of Rhonda Erwin may be sent to:
The Braswell Fund.
Camp Twin Lakes.
Tunnel to Towers. P.O.Box 857 Madison GA 30650-0857