Rex Todd

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GARNER — Rex Houston Todd, 67, passed away on Saturday, April 26, in Raleigh, as a result of a motor vehicle accident. His wife, Mary Lou, 66, was also in the car and is now recovering at the hospital. Rex was born in Yadkin County on March 10, 1947, to the late Jones Henry Todd and Gertrude Steelman Todd of Yadkinville. He grew up in a large extended family and graduated from Yadkinville High School in 1965. He often told stories of summers spent priming tobacco with his cousins for Uncles Cyrus, Leslie and Virgil on Shacktown Road. This is where his love of a well earned RC Cola and Moon Pie was born. He would also often fondly reminisce about the spread of food Grandma Todd had for them after church every Sunday. In childhood and adolescence, Rex attended the local schools, Deep Creek Baptist Church where he sang bass in the choir alongside his father, and was a Boy Scout, eventually earning the distinguished Eagle Scout honor as well as the God and Country Award. He was also an Explorer Scout. Rex was an "all-rounder" playing baseball, football, and basketball throughout his high school years, lettering in all three sports. His time on the field, especially under the tutelage of football coach Jim Boyette, helped mold him into the exceptionally driven man he became. A love for public engagement lead Rex to pursue an undergraduate degree in sociology at UNC Chapel Hill. He was also a proud member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. Following graduation, he selflessly volunteered for military service during the Vietnam draft. He went to Officer Candidate School, became a second lieutenant, and was selected to attend "jump school" for paratrooper training. He proudly served as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg from 1968-1972. Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Lt. Todd returned to UNC Chapel Hill to complete his Masters in Regional Planning. Rex began working in Raleigh after graduation as a community development consultant and partner in Planning and Design Associates, P.A. While there, he saw the effectiveness of historic rehabilitation tax credits in financing downtown revitalization initiatives. Marshaling such resources pervaded his seven and a half years as director of Community Development and Planning followed by eight and a half years as director of Economic Development for the town of Garner. Over that period, Rex leveraged funds to rehabilitate over 150 older homes; helped establish the Garner National Register Historic District; helped relocate the historic 1910 Garner Depot to its original track-side location and, led the 10-year struggle to save and adaptively reuse Historic Garner High School. He also prepared successful nominations of two Local Historic Landmarks through the Wake County Historic Preservation Commission; and, laid the foundation for Garner's Main Street Revitalization efforts that continue today. Though Rex and Mary Lou met as town of Garner employees way back in 1984, their romance didn't start to bloom until 1998. Mary Lou fondly remembers the day Rex came in "bold as brass" to interview with her for a position at town hall. Theirs was a classic courtship full of flowers, travel, and east coast shag dancing until the wee hours of the morning. They married July 27, 2002, and after "getting used to one another" spent the next 12 years crazy in love. Theirs was a true partnership, encompassing all aspects of their lives, including their dedication to their family, careers in public service, their wide-ranging friend groups and their deeply personal faith. Ten years ago, Rex re-entered the private sector as vice president of Historic Properties at Regency Development Associates. In August of 2004, Todd Development, Inc. was formed, manifesting the purpose of his career as he affiliated with the Landmark Group in Winston-Salem. There, Rex was instrumental in the development of 19 affordable housing communities in VA, NC, SC, TN, GA and MS, 13 of which are National Register historic schools, tobacco prizeries, textile mills, and manufacturing plants or headquarters. In 2010, the Board of Directors of Capital Area Preservation, Inc. presented their Anthemion Award to him for Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation. Rex was also heavily involved in community service activities through the YMCA of the Triangle and Garner United Methodist Church. His involvement in the YMCA began through participation in the Indian Princesses program with his two daughters, Karina Leigh and Alicia Lorraine. The trio shared many fun-filled adventures on the Crystal Coast with the Y, including trying to explain the rules of Knockout to Rex in the middle of the game. Rex quickly rose through the ranks of the program's officers, serving on the Long Bow Council and as the nation's Tom-Tom Beater, Wampum Bearer, Chief, and Past Chief. He also participated enthusiastically in multiple We Build People Campaigns, occasionally serving as team leader, helping to raise substantial monies for the Triangle area Y's. Rex, Mary Lou and the girls joined Garner United Methodist Church in 2005. Soon after, Rex joined the church choir, this time as a second tenor, rising to the ceremonial post of choir president this past year. He loved cutting up with his choir family just as much as he loved lifting his voice in praise every Sunday morning. Rex has also been a committed member of the BSF men's group as well as Garner United Methodist Men for the past several years. He dedicated his life to serving the Lord and diligently pursued a closer relationship with his Christ and savior. In his later years, he returned to focus on his love for physical fitness. He was particularly proud of completing the entire P90X series, the Insanity series, and the Brazilian Butt Lift DVD. And as he would say, he had the T-shirts to prove it. Rex is survived by his wife, Mary Lou; daughter Karina Leigh; daughter Alicia Lorraine; stepson John C. Heath; stepdaughter-in-law, Liberty Ann Heath; and grandson John Graeson Heath, of Garner, Raleigh and Johnson County, respectively. He is also survived by his brother, Joel Henry Todd of Pisgah Forest; and his niece, Heather Ann Todd and her husband Matthew W. Wilhite of Hillsborough. The visitation will be held Wednesday, May 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bryan Lee Funeral Home, 1200 Benson Road, Garner. The funeral service will be held Thursday, May 8, at 11 a.m. at Garner United Methodist Church, 201 Methodist Drive, Garner. The family expresses its gratitude for the many kindnesses in thought and deed of friends, family and caregivers. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Garner United Methodist Men, 201 Methodist Drive, Garner, NC, or the Triangle YMCA We Build People campaign through Arrangements by Bryan Lee Funeral Home, 1200 Benson Road, Garner. Condolences may be made through

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Bryan-Lee Funeral Home
1200 Benson Road
Garner, NC 27529
(919) 772-8225
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Published in The Yadkin Ripple from May 6 to May 7, 2014