Rachel Harrell (1967 - 2013)

Obituary
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Rachel Harrell
Alexandria - Rachel Harrell, 45, died January 12, 2013, of a massive stroke. Her death is an unbelievable, irrevocable loss for her family, friends, and community. She was born Margaret Rachel Hill on December 8, 1967, in Houston, Texas. A military child, she lived all over the United States from California to Virginia and all over the world from Japan to Italy. But no matter where she woke, she was utterly southern. In school, she was on the rifle-drill team, the basketball team, and the cheerleading squad. Rachel worked in the human resources field, where she was sought for her inspirational speeches and innovative ideas. At the time of her death, she was pursing a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Virginia with a focus in political science, so that she could further her reach through non-profit work. Rachel was beautiful, but that was the least of things. She was a vocal advocate for the underdog. She was a passionate feminist and a proud Democrat. She listened. She did not judge the flawed or the makers of mistakes; in fact, she preferred them. She was a superb gift giver. She was hilarious. She was a romantic, but with an edge. She loved Quentin Tarantino movies and coffee. She was usually late. As a daughter, Rachel was a delight and incomparably sweet. That sweetness notwithstanding, she was fiercely protective of her family and friends, especially her children, Nico and Lily. She taught her daughter to "always do what a good witch would do" and her son to be a gentleman, "because women are smarter, prettier, and better than men-but they're also exactly equal." She told friends she was just fine waiting however long it took for her knight in shining armor to arrive and he did, by plane. She married her "hot husband," Rodney, on November 6, 2010. Her religion was kindness. She was an organ donor, and so even in death she is still helping people. Rachel is survived by her husband, Rodney Harrell; children, Nico and Lilibeth Bruce; mother, Jane Hollingsworth; father, John Hill; siblings, Connan, Randell, Jacob, Annabel, and Daryn; grandfather, Jack; parents-in-law, Bob and Allie; stepparents, Richard, Miriam, John, and Jane; and nieces, Eulalie and Saige. Rachel is also survived by aunts, uncles, cousins, and many, many friends. There will be a memorial service on March 21 in Norfolk, VA. The location and time are to be determined. A charitable trust with the goal of providing aid to single mothers will be established in her honor. As the memorial nears, information will be provided regarding how to donate to this fund. "There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum." - Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Published in The Virginian Pilot on Jan. 19, 2013
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