Rhonda Nadine Boyd
Mother – Teacher – Friend – Poet – Avid Reader – Conversationalist -Selfless
December 30, 1955 – September 7, 2020
Rhonda Nadine Boyd, 64, of Norfolk, Virginia, left her earthly family to share her talents and voice with the angels on September 7, 2020, after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was diagnosed in 2016 with breast cancer and fought a good fight. Rhonda was born December 30, 1955 to U.S. Retired Navy MCPO Richard J. Boyd and Mary Alice Boyd at the Naval Medical Center (formerly Norfolk Naval Hospital) in Portsmouth, VA.
Rhonda graduated from Norview High School in 1973 after transferring from Crawford High School in San Diego where she had attended middle and her initial high school years. She received her undergraduate (graduating Summa Cum Laude) and master’s degrees from Norfolk State University in special education/psychology by the age of 23.
As a young girl, Rhonda, wowed people with her charm and beauty as she was in many pageants. The family lived in San Diego for more than five years before coming back to Virginia. She learned early on that beauty comes from within. So, while many complimented her for her poise, she focused on education and academia.
She will be remembered for her love of words. She loved words and pinning them to paper was her hobby. She may have written more than a thousand poems, for writing poetry was a way to express her true self. This love started when she was a child. If you saw Nadine, as she was affectionately called by her middle name often by family, then you saw books and piles of them with her. In fact, if she went to the beach or out with friends, then she had her books. It wasn’t just words in a book, but she simply loved the English language. Whether it was the movies or theatre or concerts, she, was front row.
It’s no wonder all of her friends say she was the consummate conversationalist. She loved to talk and share stories with you. It’s probably why her students loved her. Rhonda always believed education was the key to success, and she hungered to always be a student of learning new things. Early on she had a sense of wonder, a sense of pushing boundaries, a sense of simply learning, teaching, and sharing. It was not a surprise when she decided to become a teacher. Her Dad recalls coming into her room one evening as a child to ask her why she was watching TV and listening to music and wasn’t studying for a test. She simply replied, she could do all three and she knew she would receive an A on the test. Her Dad said: if she didn’t make an A, she would be sorry. She got an A. It was that drive and devotion to academia that pushed her. Striving for excellence was always a top priority.
It wasn’t her numerous professional awards and accolades that was her proudest accomplishment. For this scholar, when she embarked on motherhood, that became her proudest moment — giving birth to her only child, Joel. Everything else was predictable. Well, children are never predictable – however, her deep love and devotion for Joel was!
Joel and his mother shared many adventures together, from enjoying great music and fine cuisine to poetry. Throughout Rhonda’s life’s journey one thing remained constant – her love of words. As a poet, she expressed her feelings daily and she was glad she could share her love of poetry with her only son.
Early on she taught special needs youth and found comfort and sheer satisfaction in helping them overcome obstacles. Rhonda was a teacher for the Virginia Public School System for more than 17 years. It wasn’t just the younger kids she would spend hours and hours helping. In 2009, she started working as an adjunct instructor at Tidewater Community College where she taught psychology. It was always about giving back.
Her friends all share one thought – everyone says her generosity of her time was unmatched. “It wasn’t about money for Rhonda, but about the people. That was her service – helping people.” And, if you knew Rhonda, you would say she walked to her own beat. She was unique in that way from her dress, to jewelry to her nails to her hair – she was one-of-a-kind. And, it was that kind of person, you wish you knew and was on your side. As one close friend of 40 years describe her sweet nature, and giving nature made it easy to be her friend. She was ready to go with you and never-ever turned you down.
While she loved fun and having an exciting time, friends shared she also would push you out of your comfort zone to explore. For learning didn’t stop with her formal education, it continue decade after decade and even while she was pushing through the pain of her illness. She was embarking on a new adventure and new company and needed more training. And she simply rolled up her sleeves to gain the additional training needed. As she said, there’s always room to stretch you mind.
She created and founded a home-based business, Nia Enterprises, providing a diverse array of consulting services such as grant writing, marketing, technical writing, creative writing, motivational speaking. It was the grant writing that changed the lives of so many.
Rhonda is survived by her beloved son, Joel; daughter-in-law, Destany Howard-Boyd; grandson Kahsey, parents Richard and Mary Alice Boyd, stepmother Florence Boyd, step-sisters Sharon Simpson and Tamara L. Boyd, step-brothers Gaylon and Gregory Brown, brother-in-law Eddie Simpson, a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Rhonda Nadine Boyd was her mother’s joy and heart!
Anyone who knew Rhonda, would share with you that she was very spiritual and her connection to her church, past ancestors and GOD was strong. So, while we cannot see her physically today, we will hear her voice again as she recites poetry for the angles.
Rest in peace dear Rhonda. Rest!