CHARLOTTE - Connie Counts, a longtime resident of Charlotte and recently of Rock Hill, S.C., passed away at the Wayne T. Patrick Hospice House on Jan. 18, 2013.
Rachel Cornelia Rhyne was born Dec. 12, 1912, daughter of the late Alonzo Augustus Rhyne and Bessie Pearl Lewis Rhyne.
Connie was one of nine children raised on the family's farm in Gastonia. Her farm upbringing provided her with her "green thumb," which resulted in her passion for "digging in the dirt." Connie enjoyed her 100th birthday celebration Dec. 8 with family friends and enjoyed receiving birthday greetings from the White House.
Connie was preceded in death by her beloved husband, David Kenneth Counts "Ken;" four brothers, Ken, Cliff, Rufus and Walter Rhyne; three sisters, Ethel McGinnis, Katherine Thornburg and Helen Stowe; numerous nieces and nephews; and many of her dear friends.
Mrs. Counts is survived by two sons, David Kenneth Counts Jr. and wife, Diane, of Severna Park, Md., and Clifford Augustus Counts and wife, Carol, of Rock Hill, S.C., and Charlotte; a brother, Doug Rhyne and wife, Marion, of Gastonia; her grandchildren, Katherine Carole (Kacy) Baird and husband, Thomas, of Fort Mill, S.C., and Karen Diane Solnick and husband, Dr. Mark Solnick, of Charlotte.
Connie was extremely proud of her great-grandchildren, McKenna Grace Baird, Avery Caroline Baird, Ethan Walsh Solnick, Andrew Thomas Solnick, and her namesake, Emily Rhyne Solnick due in April 2013. In addition, Connie has six stepgrandchildren, Mason and Dawn Hattaway, and Theron and Sherrill Hattaway all of Simpsonville, S.C., and Carrie and Brian Lawton of York, S.C. Mrs. Counts had nine stepgreat-grandchildren, Joseph Adam Costas of Jacksonville, Fla., Cody Hattaway, Trey, Blake and Colby Ivester, and Emily and Mark Hattaway, all of Simpsonville, S.C., and Callie Chilton and William Erskine Lawton of York, S.C. Also surviving are numerous special nieces and nephews.
Connie resided at The Cottages of Spring Arbor in her declining years and was lovingly cared for by her son, Cliff, and his wife, Carol. Connie graduated high school in Gastonia and went on to East Carolina University (known then as East Carolina Teacher's College) in Greenville, where she received her degree in elementary education.
Like several of her siblings, Connie sought to increase the education opportunities of young people. She contributed by teaching elementary school (first and second grades) in Oriental until her marriage to her beloved husband in 1937.
Upon the death of her husband in 1967, she returned to the teaching profession she loved and knew so well. She and her husband, Ken, were active members of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Charlotte from its founding in 1938. Connie loved her many dear friends at St. Luke's. She was an active member of the Jimmy Bolton Sunday School Class. Throughout her church life,
Connie was a regular participant in many everyday activities of the church.
She was an active participant in the Soup & Study program. The Connie Counts Circle was named in her honor. She taught Sunday school and Vacation Bible School for many years. Connie was also a very active bridge player and a much sought-after flower arranger (for which she received many honors and awards). Connie always had fresh flowers on her dining room table for her many guests to enjoy.
A service to celebrate the life of Mrs. Counts will be at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 3200 Park Road, Charlotte, with Pastor Steven Lorimer officiating.
Burial will follow at Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte.
The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.
Memorials may be made to St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Organ Fund, P.O. Box 11063, Charlotte, NC 28220-1063 and/or Hospice and Community Care, 2275 India Hook Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732.
Woodlawn Funeral Home, Mount Holly, is serving the family.