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A truly great man, father, husband, grandpa, great-grandpa, optometrist, friend and horseman, passed away in the middle of the night on August 13, 2015, at his Rancho Bernardo home. He leaves an everlasting legacy of faith, family, humor and wisdom. He made everyone he ever met feel special, from patients in his optometry practice, to children of all ages, and to a chance encounter with a stranger. He could deliver make-believe adventures, cite Scripture, offer business and personal advice, or pose intellectual conundrums with equal ease. Derrell Lee Rhinehart was born in Belen, New Mexico. He served in the Army National Guard for eight years while attending San Francisco State University, University of Kansas, and University of California Berkeley. Upon graduation from UC Berkeley with a Doctor of Optometry degree in 1965, he moved to San Diego, where he met and married Charlene Lenore Graham and immediately became a family man. Derrell and Charlene, along with her two young daughters, Sandra and Linda, moved to Escondido and expanded their family adding sons, James and Charles Rhinehart. During the 40 years he practiced optometry in Escondido and, most recently, with Scripps Health in Rancho Bernardo, Dr. Rhinehart held leadership roles in professional and civic organizations, including the California Optometric Association and Kiwanis. He was active in school and sports organizations for his children, and served as an elder in his church in Valley Center. His love of God was deep. For more than 25 years, Derrell and his family resided in Valley Center, living the "country life." He loved horses and taught his children and his grandchildren to ride before they could walk, to drive, play chess, strive to be the best they could be, how to love, how to never stop learning, and how to have fun. 'Having fun" was a lifestyle. While his "never-take-life-too-seriously" outlook was treasured by family and friends, his knack for connecting with children is legendary. Every walk was a safari and every ride an adventure into the jungle or into an old western town. Derrell and Charlene moved to Rancho Bernardo in 2003 and his much-loved horse, Moses, to Morning Star Ranch in Poway, where new friendships flourished. The favorite part of retirement was his daily visit to "the Ranch," riding Moses, and teaching local children and great-grandchildren to ride. He died like he lived, surrounded by his family in a circle of love. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Charlene; children, Sandra Trevisan, Linda Graham, James and Charles Rhinehart; their spouses Dennis Trevisan and Hollee Rhinehart; 15 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. A Celebration of Life and Legacy will be held on Friday, August 28, 2015, at 11:30 AM, Emmanuel Faith Community Church, Escondido. Donations can be made in his memory to The Elizabeth Hospice at www.elizabethhospice.org.
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