Rabie Eloise Shive Coleman passed away Friday, April 23, 2021 after a brief illness at the age of 95.
Born as the 11th of 12 children October 25, 1925 to general store owners Charles Leon and Gertrude Ellen Shive, she spent her childhood years in Webb, MS with her many siblings. She recounted stories of the family’s very exotic pet McCaw parrots that lived in their yard and reportedly alerted the family to a housefire one night saving everyone.
After graduating from Webb-Swan Lake High School in 1944, Rabie moved to Yazoo City to work for her brother Bert at his Yazoo Novelty Company. It was there her husband to be noticed her walking through town and began his pursuit of her. Wyche T. Coleman Sr. was only 18 at the time and destined for deployment as a member of the US Army to invade the Japanese mainland.
As the story goes, she declined his initial marriage proposal on the basis that he was unlikely to make it back alive and she had no desire to become a widow at such a young age, but agreed to consider the offer should he be so lucky to return. As Wyche was enroute across the Pacific, Japan succumbed to the atomic bombs and what started out as an invasion mission, shifted to occupation. Fate brought them back together after he returned from his station as a prison guard in Tokyo, holding such famous prisoners as Tojo and Tokyo Rose, and they were married on January 29, 1950. While he was away Rabie remained in Yazoo City working for Bert who spoiled her by continuously providing her with new cars to drive off of his dealership lot proving to be a tough act for her future husband to follow.
Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Midway,Mississippi to work on the Swayze Farm, but did not remain there long after an opportunity to be foreman of a cotton farm in Louisiana became available. Thus Wyche and Rabie relocated to the place she would call home for another 68 years, Harmon, to manage the Emmitt Hook plantation. Little more than a mapdot today, their home place served as an anchorpoint along Highway 1 for many decades and was rebuilt after burning completely in 1982. Rural north Louisiana became home and she worked as a homemaker on the farm raising sons “Little Wyche” and Charles. She was an always active member in the First United Methodist Church in Coushatta for almost 70 years rarely missing a Sunday. She led her sons cub scout group, and was very active in their school activities. The Coleman house was a social gathering hot spot, especially popular with one of the first swimming pools in the area. As her boys were growing up and she acted as the tireless host to anyone that showed up always serving her own recipe of cornbread widely regarded as the best ever made. Summers were spent on the lakes near their house teaching half of Red River Parish to waterski. Throughout her life, she kept close ties with her brothers and sisters and never missed a Shive family reunion, even as the last surviving sibling.
In her later years, Rabie took the greatest pride in helping raise her grandchildren who knew her simply as Memaw. She could be counted on to never miss a game or event, cook for them on demand, wash dry and fold their clothes and even kept a giant African Spur Thigh tortoise at her house for over a decade without a single complaint. Well into her 90’s she continued to host her entire family for holidays at her house all while living alone in the country as a widow for over 15 years. As anyone frequenting Highway 1 can attest, it took quite a while for her age to catch up with her driving speed, but they started to equal out when she was ticketed for 89 in a 55 at age 89, although it is rumored the radar may have been reading low that day. She never missed a trip to Shreveport every Thursday to get her hair done, and even during covid lockdown. Always ultra active, at age 94 she sewed with the ladies at the church on Monday, played bridge on Wednesday, made the ritual hair appointment on Thursday, attended church on Sunday, and ate lunch at the council on aging with her friends every single weekday, all the while asserting she had nothing to do. In her final years, her great grandchildren brought her the greatest joy. She seeked them out with religious fervor and spent every minute with them that she could, as the oldest has said “because Memaw loves us so much”. There is no doubt that she does.
Mrs. Rabie, aka Memaw, was loved by many and will be missed by all who knew her. She was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years Wyche Taylor Coleman Sr., Siblings: Lula, Lloyd, Bert, Nina, Mather, Mildred, Ruth, Clinton, Virgil (Son), Virginia (Sister), and Raymond. Paula Bundrick Sour, mother of her grandson.
She is survived by her two sons: Wyche T. Coleman Jr., M.D. and wife Rhonda; Charles Clifton Coleman Sr. and wife Tiki; Grandchildren: Wyche Taylor Coleman III, M.D. and wife Renee’, Kevin Ryan Coleman and wife Kayla, Kelli Meredith Coleman, M.D. and Charles Clifton Coleman Jr.; Great Grandchildren: Wyche Taylor Coleman IV, and Wyatt Thomas Coleman; Sisters-in-Law: Minnie Grace Coleman, and Bertha Shive; Very special Nieces: Sharon Shive Swayze, and Vivian Shive Gooch.
Special thanks to the staff of the Oaks who cared for her and especially to Dr. Bob Martin.
Graveside services will be held at 1 P.M. Monday, April 26, 2021 at Springville Cemetery with Dr. Greg Bell officiating. Services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA. Pallbearers will be Billy Shaw, Lewis Sams, Steve Swayze, Johnny Gooch, Michael Simpson, and Pugh T. (Sonny) Huckabay.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The First United Methodist Church in Coushatta and The Springville Cemetery Association.